Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reading Corner: The Mitten

The Mitten is a delightful Ukranian folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. After a little boy named Nikki accidentally drops his white mitten in the snow, all the animals in the forest want to snuggle inside it.

This book is a classic. I remember being captivated by the exquisite illustrations, as a kid. As an adult, I recently re-read the story and loved it, for another reason. Nikki's mitten demonstrates a much needed lesson about priorities. It's all too easy to try to squeeze one more animal into my mitten, so to speak. It's remarkable how many critters can pack in. But that's not what the mitten was designed for. Rather than asking myself, "How can I fit another thing in my mitten?" I ought to ask, "Does it even belong in my mitten?" Otherwise, I may end up like Nikki, finding a stretched-out mitten that's no longer meeting its intended purpose. Seen as a parable about priorities, the light-hearted tale becomes thought-provoking, relevant, and personally challenging—a good read for a snowy day in the new year!

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