Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale

Brett, Jan (Author/Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2009. 32 pages
First published: 1989
ISBN: 9780399252969 (hardcover)
9781101550052 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 398
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Folklore

Text Elements:

recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In this Ukrainian folk tale, one of the white mittens that Baba knits for her grandson gets lost, not surprisingly, in the snow. Starting with a tired little mole, an increasing number—and size—of woodland creatures snuggle into its cozy warmth until it “bulged to many times its size.” When a resident bear’s nose gets tickled by some mouse whiskers, “The force of the sneeze [shoots] the mitten up into the sky,” and the boy is relieved to find it once again. Slightly stretched.

But the story is not told through the rich descriptive text alone. Traditional Ukrainian costumes and decorations are incorporated into each lush, detailed spread. These are in turn framed by an embroidered birchbark background, adding to the authentic country flavour of the setting. The clever page design includes a substory, in which we glimpse what is coming next, through mitten-shaped windows.

Discussions of different cultures, sharing and animals in winter can all have a place following this delightful story, but a satisfied chuckle is a sure thing.

  •  

    Predict what will happen next (use the clues in the mitten windows). What will happen to the mitten by the end of the story? What will Baba think?

  •  

    Read another version of this Ukrainian folk tale and create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two stories.

  •  

    Introduce the concept of symmetry using the mittens, frames and flowers as examples. Examine some real mittens and decide if they are symmetrical. Using construction paper and crayons, design mittens with symmetrical patterns.

  •  

    After reading the story aloud, use the masks that are available on the author’s website to sequence the animals as they get into the mitten. 

  •  

    Collect, label and display pictures of the featured animals.

  •  

    Retell the story using a real mitten and paper cut-outs of the animal characters. 

  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Mathematics
  • Visual Arts