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The Mitten: An Old Ukrainian Folktale

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Deep in the woods on the coldest day of winter a little boy drops his mitten. And that lost mitten stretches and stretches -- and stretches -- to provide shelter for many woodland creatures. A Ukrainian folk tale.


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Deep in the woods on the coldest day of winter a little boy drops his mitten. And that lost mitten stretches and stretches -- and stretches -- to provide shelter for many woodland creatures. A Ukrainian folk tale.

30 review for The Mitten: An Old Ukrainian Folktale

  1. 4 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    Absolutely delightful folktale of a lost mitten and how many animals manage to stuff themselves inside it to keep warm ! Chaos ensues !!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    Now, let me say from the start that, having read Jan Brett's version first, I prefer it. And unless your home library is enormous, you probably don't need both books. However, as the comments here show, many people prefer this version, which predates Brett's version by quite a while. If you can get your hands on both, do so - keep one for yourself and donate the other to a local school! This story is a great classic. A boy loses his mitten in the woods, a series of progressively larger animals cl Now, let me say from the start that, having read Jan Brett's version first, I prefer it. And unless your home library is enormous, you probably don't need both books. However, as the comments here show, many people prefer this version, which predates Brett's version by quite a while. If you can get your hands on both, do so - keep one for yourself and donate the other to a local school! This story is a great classic. A boy loses his mitten in the woods, a series of progressively larger animals climb in, culminating in a bear. When one teeny animal tries to be the last to just squeeeeeze in (in this version, a cricket), that proves too much for the old mitten and it bursts all over the place. In contrast to Jan Brett's signature style of very intricate pictures, the artwork in this book is very simple... and like many books of that time period, it alternates between full-color spreads and one-color spreads. (In this case, that one color is turquoise, as you can see on the cover.) I like the detail more, but there's a real charm in the simpler pictures of this edition. Jan Brett has the animals looking and acting like animals. They don't wear clothes, and they don't explicitly talk to each other... and the prey animals move over for the predators only because they're intimidated by the talons, claws, and teeth (this detail is skipped in the board book version of Brett's book). In this edition, the animals speak politely to each other and act generally like humans. Some people prefer the lack of outright intimidation in this book. I'm going to donate this book to my niece's school. They probably do have a copy of Brett's edition, but this would be a good thing for them to compare and contrast - and really, it stands on its own as a lovely book. It's just SO similar to the other, more well-known version (or, I should say, Brett's version is so similar to this one!) that I don't see the point in keeping both editions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Jan Brett's version gets all the acclaim, but this retelling of the wintry folk tale is nothing to sneeze at. Yaroslava's illustrations, done with a limited color palette, are quite charming. Jan Brett's version gets all the acclaim, but this retelling of the wintry folk tale is nothing to sneeze at. Yaroslava's illustrations, done with a limited color palette, are quite charming.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I was more familiar with the Jan Brett version of The Mitten than this book, but there is something distinctly charming about the illustrations in this edition.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Originally published in 1964, and recently re-released, Alvin Tresselt's retelling of this Ukrainian folktale is probably one of the most textual adaptations available. A simple progression tale about a series of woodland animals who take up temporary residence in a lost mitten, there isn't much to this story. In fact, the other versions I have seen, Jan Brett's 1989 retelling amongst them, all have fairly minimal text. Here, Tresselt adds a little bit to the story, with more description and mor Originally published in 1964, and recently re-released, Alvin Tresselt's retelling of this Ukrainian folktale is probably one of the most textual adaptations available. A simple progression tale about a series of woodland animals who take up temporary residence in a lost mitten, there isn't much to this story. In fact, the other versions I have seen, Jan Brett's 1989 retelling amongst them, all have fairly minimal text. Here, Tresselt adds a little bit to the story, with more description and more animal dialogue, making for a much more satisfying narrative. Yaroslava's delicate illustrations, alternating from a white to a blue background, are charming. An online friend described them as having a true "fairy-tale quality," and I would agree with that assessment. All told, this is one of my favorite versions of this story, although I think it is interesting to read it in conjunction with the others.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    Ages: 4 - 8 **Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet Xue

    The Mitten written by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Yaroslava is a 40 pages Ukrainian folktale picture book about a young boy who went to the woods on the coldest day to help his grandma to gather firewoods. When he was done collecting firewoods, he walks back to his grandma’s house and on his way one of his mittens dropped out from his coat pocket. A mouse was walking by sees the mitten and walk inside to keep herself warm. A while later, a frog hopped over and ask if he can join her and sh The Mitten written by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Yaroslava is a 40 pages Ukrainian folktale picture book about a young boy who went to the woods on the coldest day to help his grandma to gather firewoods. When he was done collecting firewoods, he walks back to his grandma’s house and on his way one of his mittens dropped out from his coat pocket. A mouse was walking by sees the mitten and walk inside to keep herself warm. A while later, a frog hopped over and ask if he can join her and she welcome him. Soon more animals walked passed by asking to come in and it includes, a boar, a wolf, a fox, and a rabbit. When all the animals comforted themselves in the mitten, a bear asked to join but all the animals said “No room! No room!” and the bear decided to himself a try and slip into the mitten which was about to break and then a grasshopper joined and all of a sudden the mitten broke into pieces of rags. The animals all walked away finding themselves a new shelter to hibernate. The little boy on the other hand was looking for his lost mitten and when he saw it, it was all cut up. When the little boy went home, he told and asks his grandpa what happened to his mitten and his grandpa found it strange. Eventually, the young boy’s grandma knitted him a new pair of mitten and she herself did not know what actually happened to his lost mitten. The Ukrainian folktale is a fascinating reading for children because it allows children to use their imagination to recreate the story and to create their own story that is similar to the book. The illustrations in the book represent Ukrainian culture which allows children to learn and to see that the book is not stereotyping Ukrainian culture. Also, the colors and the illustrations are simple and the colors give the reader the theme of winter. When I was reading it, I was eager to find out how many more animals can the mitten fit. This book will leave children motivated to use their creativity to create a story of their own that reaches outside the box.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Elgin

    “The Mitten” is a Ukrainian folktale as retold by Alvin Tresselt and is designed for students in kindergarten and above. This folktale tells the story of a young man who is out in the woods, gathering wood for his grandmother, when he unknowingly drops one of his mittens, leaving it behind. A mouse finds the mitten, and in order to keep warm, makes a home in the mitten. Then a frog walks by wanting the share the mitten, as do various other animals, increasing in size respectively. When a bear wa “The Mitten” is a Ukrainian folktale as retold by Alvin Tresselt and is designed for students in kindergarten and above. This folktale tells the story of a young man who is out in the woods, gathering wood for his grandmother, when he unknowingly drops one of his mittens, leaving it behind. A mouse finds the mitten, and in order to keep warm, makes a home in the mitten. Then a frog walks by wanting the share the mitten, as do various other animals, increasing in size respectively. When a bear wanders upon the mitten, wanting to join the in warmth, the mitten’s seems begin to break, but it barely holds together. When the mitten is just on the cusp of bursting open, a cricket joins in and the mitten finally gives out. No longer holding heat, the animals abandon the mitten, leaving the boy, having just realized that he was missing a mitten, to find it in its disheveled state. We then learn that the boy’s grandmother had already made him a new pair of mittens. We also find out on the last page that the narrator is the grandson of the little boy, seemingly retelling an old family story. A teacher could use the story to work on predicting, by encouraging the students to make predictions about the mitten and how long it will remain in tact. This book could also be used in a language arts lesson to encourage the students to retell the story by acting it out, working on oral language.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Apparently, "The Mitten" is a popular Ukrainian folktale because a) it was the easiest for me to find multiple versions of, and b) it was featured in all three of the collections I borrowed in January 2016. Although I could not find an "original" version in print. So I researched online and found this page. From reading that page, Evgenii Rachev appears to be the first illustrator of the story, Rukavichka, which was published in 1951. The version I read, translated and retold by Alvin Tresselt, Apparently, "The Mitten" is a popular Ukrainian folktale because a) it was the easiest for me to find multiple versions of, and b) it was featured in all three of the collections I borrowed in January 2016. Although I could not find an "original" version in print. So I researched online and found this page. From reading that page, Evgenii Rachev appears to be the first illustrator of the story, Rukavichka, which was published in 1951. The version I read, translated and retold by Alvin Tresselt, was first published in 1964. This retelling's mittens were made of leather and lined with fur. The animals in order of occupancy: mouse, frog, owl, rabbit, fox, wolf, boar, bear -- and finally, a cricket was one too many. The mitten splits apart with such force it throws the animals all over the place. 4 stars I found it interesting that the animals never questioned whether it was safe for them to allow the next animal, only that the mitten was crowded and couldn't possibly hold another creature. Is the lesson then to always give / share, even if doing so means you sacrifice your own comfort or safety? (c) 1964 Retold by Alvin R. Tresselt. Adapted from the version by E. Rachov. Illustrated by Yaroslava.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tess Upchurch

    The Mitten is a retelling of a Ukrainian folktale. After a young boy drops his mitten in the snow a mouse finds it and uses it to shelter from the cold wind. The mouse eventually ends up inviting animals such as an owl, a frog, and a fox to share the warmth of the mitten. The mitten continues to stretch with each new guest and it eventually bursts. I absolutely loved this book. The illustrations are simple yet charming and the theme was clear without feeling forced. The overall moral, that it is The Mitten is a retelling of a Ukrainian folktale. After a young boy drops his mitten in the snow a mouse finds it and uses it to shelter from the cold wind. The mouse eventually ends up inviting animals such as an owl, a frog, and a fox to share the warmth of the mitten. The mitten continues to stretch with each new guest and it eventually bursts. I absolutely loved this book. The illustrations are simple yet charming and the theme was clear without feeling forced. The overall moral, that it is important to share and that there is always room for one more is a perfect message for younger readers. This story would be a great read aloud book for a snowy or particularly cold day. It would be a great way to talk about the season while also weaving in a conversation about friendship and kindness. One thing that I wish was discussed more was what happened to each animal after the mitten burst. There is a glimpse of the mouse at the end, but there is no other explanation. I think it would be interesting to have students write their own alternate endings in which they explain how one or more of the animals utilized their piece of the torn mitten.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wright

    This folktale book is for children from 3-12 years old. "The Mitten" is about a little boy who went to get firewood for his grandmother and on this way home as he is dragging a sleigh full of wood he lost his mitten. The mitten becomes a home to all different kinds of animals because it was cold outside, so the animals were climbing in the mitten to keep warm. This book was very interesting to me. The plot was letting all the different animals coming together to stay warm in a mitten. The colors This folktale book is for children from 3-12 years old. "The Mitten" is about a little boy who went to get firewood for his grandmother and on this way home as he is dragging a sleigh full of wood he lost his mitten. The mitten becomes a home to all different kinds of animals because it was cold outside, so the animals were climbing in the mitten to keep warm. This book was very interesting to me. The plot was letting all the different animals coming together to stay warm in a mitten. The colors of the book were kinds dull and plain. I could use this book in classrooms that I will teach. Its lesson is always help people or animals in this case at a time in need. However, I think young readers would like this book because all the different characters which are animals. All children love animals.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    An imaginative account of what happens when you lose a mitten. The story is told as though it has been passed down from person to person, generation to generation. I tend to like that element in books. It gives them a folkloric or urban legend(ic?) feel. In this case, a bunch of animals inhabit this lost item. My favorite part about the animals is that they are all dressed in various and sundry Ukrainian outfits. Maybe things are different in the Ukraine. I also continue to be surprised by how m An imaginative account of what happens when you lose a mitten. The story is told as though it has been passed down from person to person, generation to generation. I tend to like that element in books. It gives them a folkloric or urban legend(ic?) feel. In this case, a bunch of animals inhabit this lost item. My favorite part about the animals is that they are all dressed in various and sundry Ukrainian outfits. Maybe things are different in the Ukraine. I also continue to be surprised by how many of my picture books are only three color illustrations. I had no realized how much white space there was before. Perhaps it is a cost issue on the publishing side. So many of my books are from my childhood, it would be interesting to spend some time at a bookstore or library to see how styles have or have not changed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    A little boy loses his mitten in the snow while gathering fire-wood. Some forest animals -starting with a mouse and getting larger - make the mitten their shelter from the cold. I know I read into things quite a bit, and maybe I'm reading into this folk-tale too much, but since nobody else that I can see has mentioned it... I'm wondering if the folk tale is symbolic of Ukraine itself. (I thought of this most when the bear showed up... in Eastern European jokes, the bear almost always represents Ru A little boy loses his mitten in the snow while gathering fire-wood. Some forest animals -starting with a mouse and getting larger - make the mitten their shelter from the cold. I know I read into things quite a bit, and maybe I'm reading into this folk-tale too much, but since nobody else that I can see has mentioned it... I'm wondering if the folk tale is symbolic of Ukraine itself. (I thought of this most when the bear showed up... in Eastern European jokes, the bear almost always represents Russia...) Ukraine was pretty much it's own place before being divided up and divided up and divided up - much like the mouse had the mitten, then shared and shared and shared... Predators and prey lived together in this mitten, and eventually the mitten wasn't big enough for everybody. Just a thought. I really liked the pictures, but Liz disagrees. : )

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angelina Perez

    A young boy looses is gathering firewood for his grandmother. The young boy losses his mitten. A small mouse finds the mitten and decides to make a home from it, a frog comes along and the mouse invites the frog in since its very cold outside. Then an owl comes by and asks if he could join them. A rabbit, fox, wolf, boar, and a bear mange to stuff themselves inside the mitten. A small cricket comes along and says that she too can fit inside the mitten. The mitten came apart and all the animals w A young boy looses is gathering firewood for his grandmother. The young boy losses his mitten. A small mouse finds the mitten and decides to make a home from it, a frog comes along and the mouse invites the frog in since its very cold outside. Then an owl comes by and asks if he could join them. A rabbit, fox, wolf, boar, and a bear mange to stuff themselves inside the mitten. A small cricket comes along and says that she too can fit inside the mitten. The mitten came apart and all the animals went flying off. Then the young boy noticed that his mitten was gone and he goes back to look for it all he sees is a ripped mitten and a small mouse running away. I love this book because I remember when I read it when I was in fourth grade it brings back good memories.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily Miller

    This story is a traditional Ukranian tale about a boy who loses his mitten in the woods. Throughout the story various animals find the mitten and crawl inside for a warm place to stay. I like how in the beginning of the story the author says how a boy could lose a mitten on the coldest day is something he does not know, but that is the way his grandfather told the story. This shows the audience that this is a tale that has been passed down from generation to generation. Because there are several This story is a traditional Ukranian tale about a boy who loses his mitten in the woods. Throughout the story various animals find the mitten and crawl inside for a warm place to stay. I like how in the beginning of the story the author says how a boy could lose a mitten on the coldest day is something he does not know, but that is the way his grandfather told the story. This shows the audience that this is a tale that has been passed down from generation to generation. Because there are several versions of the mitten, this story could be used along with the others in a classroom to compare and contrast the different elements the authors used.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I was thrilled to see a reprint of this in the bookstore yesterday. We had it when I was a kid and I've been trying to figure out what it was for years--I knew it wasn't the Jan Brett version, which I don't really like. I loved the illustrations, which have an excellent fairy-tale-like quality, with a (to me) exotic and mysterious feel. The animals are anthropomorphic but still look like themselves. Pick this up for a gift, if you want something that's less typical (I have a friend whose baby go I was thrilled to see a reprint of this in the bookstore yesterday. We had it when I was a kid and I've been trying to figure out what it was for years--I knew it wasn't the Jan Brett version, which I don't really like. I loved the illustrations, which have an excellent fairy-tale-like quality, with a (to me) exotic and mysterious feel. The animals are anthropomorphic but still look like themselves. Pick this up for a gift, if you want something that's less typical (I have a friend whose baby got four copies of Goodnight, Moon before she was born).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A keeper This is one library book I hope to add to our home library. A classic Ukrainian folktale told to children. I love how the author states this unlikely tale as fact because his grandfather told him it happened - and at the very last says his grandfather never knew what happened to his mitten! Even children understand this technique! The illustrations are both rich and simple. The pages are not busy, but the animals seeking refuge are all clad in traditional Ukrainian garb, and speak civill A keeper This is one library book I hope to add to our home library. A classic Ukrainian folktale told to children. I love how the author states this unlikely tale as fact because his grandfather told him it happened - and at the very last says his grandfather never knew what happened to his mitten! Even children understand this technique! The illustrations are both rich and simple. The pages are not busy, but the animals seeking refuge are all clad in traditional Ukrainian garb, and speak civilly to each other. A charming story with pictures that suit. Recommend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judi Paradis

    Jan Brett gets all the credit--but this is my favorite. It was one of my favorite books as a child, and I noticed in comparing the 2 stories, that while Brett's animals all move over because each new animal coming to the mitten is predatory and alarms the animals already in the mitten--in Tressalt's version the animals are motivated by kindness--it is a very cold day and how can they refuse shelter to a fellow beast? I also love the cold blue background and wonderfully dressed creatures. And the Jan Brett gets all the credit--but this is my favorite. It was one of my favorite books as a child, and I noticed in comparing the 2 stories, that while Brett's animals all move over because each new animal coming to the mitten is predatory and alarms the animals already in the mitten--in Tressalt's version the animals are motivated by kindness--it is a very cold day and how can they refuse shelter to a fellow beast? I also love the cold blue background and wonderfully dressed creatures. And there is a frog and a cricket.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Simmons

    I love the little animals in this book! They all trust each other, when your reading this your like do not trust that fox or wolf but nothing like what your expecting even happens. These little animals come together to get warm even though they are all different they help out to stay warm in the thick snow. The little boys mitten was just gone to him, but to these little critters it was so much more!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Reminded me of the story about the kid who gets a jacket from his grandparent but he outgrows it and they keep making it into something smaller. I can't remember the name, it was a really cute story--if anyone knows what I am talking about let me know! Anyway, back to this book. Cute book about a lost mitten and what happened to it after it was lost. My little kids thought is was a funny little story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is an entertaining retelling of the Ukrainian tale - it has an old fashioned feel to it, which makes sense as it was first published in 1964. The illustrations are not nearly as colorful or detailed as the versions of this story by Jan Brett and Jim Aylesworth, but I liked this version, too. This is an entertaining retelling of the Ukrainian tale - it has an old fashioned feel to it, which makes sense as it was first published in 1964. The illustrations are not nearly as colorful or detailed as the versions of this story by Jan Brett and Jim Aylesworth, but I liked this version, too.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Klimas

    I enjoyed this book and I think it is a very valuable one for kids to read. I think this is a good book to teach kids a lesson on sharing. It's about a kid who loses his mitten, and some animals keep warm by getting in the mitten. When too many animals get in the mitten, it breaks. It's a cute story that could be read to kids around pre-K or kindergarten. I don't know if I would have this in my classroom but I would recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lafleur Meyers

    Charming retelling of the Ukrainian folktale, "The Mitten," in which a little boy drops a mitten in the snow and it becomes a shelter for animals. I had previously only read (or remember) the Jan Brett version before. While it has a more limited color palette, this is an equally fascinating and warmly told retelling. The animals in folk costumes make a strong connection to the story's Ukrainian roots. Classic picture book format folktale that is well worth the read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I loved this book. It shows the creative stories which may be told when you lose something such as the boy who lost his mitten in this book. In this book a boy is collecting firewood when he looses a mitten. In order to keep warm, animals start crawling inside the mitten to avoid the snowstorm outside. However, they push the mitten too far and it tears at the seam. It was a fun story to read and funny as well. I especially enjoyed the simplistic illustrations in the book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Read to my grandson. It was a favorite that I used to read to my story time kids in the public library25 years ago. I love the story. He wanted it read over many times. His folks were sick of the story by the time it was due back at the library. They had to read it every day; I read it maybe 3 times to him.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Turrean

    A charmingly illustrated version of the tale of a lost mitten, and the animals who try to put it to use. Some of the pages have a wash of color over simple line drawings, which was harder for the kids to see at a distance during a read-aloud, but there’s plenty of detail to interest children who have it in their hands.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    A wonderful version of an old folktale. We talked about helping others. This was a big hit with all three classes this week. We are going to try and read Jan Brett's version too before the holidays come.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    A little boy goes out to collect firewood and loses one of his mittens. Different animals come across the mitten and climb inside to stay warm. But will it fit all the animals? Great tale to compare with the other versions. Maybe have students vote for their favorite mitten story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Haim

    Alvin Tresselt, accompanied with illustrations by Yaroslava, is not only a wonderful retelling of an old Ukrainian tale, but maintains the orality of the folk-tale. The simple illustrations don't overwhelm the tale,but complement it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana Pettis

    Today I read this book to both Xavier and Xander and they both enjoyed it. They could relate to the concept of loosing a mitten and not knowing where it was. They also liked how the animals worked together inside the mitten. You'll be surprised at what happens to the mitten. Read to find out!!!

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