A Mountain of Mittens
Lynn Plourde, author
Lynn Plourde is the author of several picture books, including Teacher Appreciation Day (Dutton), School Picture Day (Dutton), and Summer’s Vacation (Simon & Schuster). Lynn lives in Winthrop, Maine.
Read more about Lynn.
Mitch Vane, illustrator
Mitch Vane has been working as an illustrator for more than twenty years. She has illustrated The Patch for Charlesbridge, along with many other children’s books in Australia. Mitch lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Read more about Mitch.
- The Comstock Reading Aloud Initiative's Bibliography of Best Read Aloud Picture Books, 2010
Plourde takes an ordinary winter event and makes an amusing story out of it. As the kids climb aboard the school bus, all the parents yell the same thing: "Don't forget your mittens at school." But, of course, the children do forget. The mittens wind up in a pile in the lost-and-found box, and in the following days, the adults try to find ways to keep the mittens tethered to their children, with yarn, velcro, and duct tape all playing roles. But nothing works, and the hill of mittens grows into a mountain. Pretty soon, kids are getting stuck in the pile—and the teachers who are trying to help them do, too. It's the parents to the rescue, and everyone manages to get home. But the mittens stay put, to the teachers' dismay. Although the ending is a bit flat, readers will chuckle as they recognize what a problem mateless mittens can become. Vane's watercolor-and-ink drawings have a jaunty air as they up the ante, showing wild ways to connect kid and glove and illustrating the prodigious size of the ever-growing heap.
Where do all those lost mittens go? Despite Mommy’s warning not to leave her mittens at school, young Molly does, but for a good cause: She uses them to warm up a shivering turtle in her classroom’s terrarium. Mr. Jolly, her teacher, rescues them and puts them on the lost-and-found pile, prompting the refrain, oft-repeated, “Mittens, mittens, my, oh, my, a mountain of mittens piled up high.” In subsequent days, Mommy tries Velcro, crocheting, duct tape, etc., to keep Molly from losing her mittens. Apparently, it’s a school-wide epidemic: When the principal Mrs. Folly announces that students will not be able to leave the school without mittens, she triggers a rush on the mitten pile, as well as a hilarious disaster. Vane’s busy illustrations—in watercolor and dip-pen and India ink—are full of quirky additional jokes. A happy and sublimely silly tale—but why is a book about mittens publishing in the summer?
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Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 11