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The Mitten

Last updated Friday, July 20, 2007

Author: Jan Brett
Illustrator: Jan Brett
Date of Publication: 1989
ISBN: 039921920X
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2005

Synopsis: [from the publisher] Brett creates a dramatic picture book with the story of Nicki, a young boy who has lost a mitten in the snow and the animals who try to make a home of it. "The illustrations and the book design . . . are exquisite . . . a charming lap book to be poured over again and again."--School Library Journal.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the cover. What do you think the animals will do with the mitten in the snow?
•  What animals do you see on the cover? How many animals are there? Discuss the two animals they might not know such as a wolverine and a hedgehog.
•  During your picture walk, point out each animal, pronounce the name while pointing to the words, and act out the way each animal moves and sounds.
•  Has anyone been in the snow before? How is it or how might it feel?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What shapes are on the sides of the pages? What do you see in them?
•  Why does Nicki?s grandmother not want him to have snow-white mittens?
•  What does Nicki do with his mittens?
•  What is the first animal that finds the mitten? The second? The third? Etc.
•  How many animals fit in the mitten?
•  What makes the animals leave the mitten?
•  How does Nicki find his lost mitten?
•  In the end, how are the two mittens different? What do you think Baba is thinking on the last page?
•  Could this story really happen?
•  If you left a sock or cap lying around at home, what would fit in there? What if you left it in the park?

Craft ideas:
•  Explain to the students that a pair of mittens means both of them are the same. Trace mittens on a sheet of paper and have students try to decorate each of them the same. Bring ahead option: glitter glue.
•  Make animal masks of one of the animals from the story. Bring ahead option: bring paper plates and print out masks from http://www.janbrett.com/mitten_masks_main.htm
•  Draw an outline of a sock or cap on a piece of paper and have students draw animals or things they think would fit inside. They can choose where the sock or cap is (e.g., park, bedroom, kitchen, classroom).

Special activities:
•  Bring a pair of mittens and ask the students what can fit in one.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!