A Brief Review of The Story Blanket
By Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz.
Illustrated by Elena Odriozola.
Hardcover: Peachtree Publishers, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Jeni Newswanger Smith.
Drawn to The Story Blanket by the beautiful simplicity of its cover as well as the recommendation of a friend, I discovered a book that will become a favorite in my home, with myself, my husband and my children. The Story Blanket, written by Ferida Wolfe and Harriet May Savitz, illustrates the time-honored principles of contentment, selflessness, thriftiness without hitting children over the head with a moral.
Wolfe and Savitz begin their story by introducing Babba Yagga, the crafty grandmother-figure at the center of the story, who loves to tell stories to the neighborhood children who gather on her blanket. During these story times, she notices a hole in a shoe, the absence of a scarf or missing mittens. She unravels bits of her blanket in order to knit socks, scarves, mittens, etc. Eventually, the children notice the blanket has gotten quite small, and that they are sitting closer to one another each day. The community figures out that Babba Yagga has been gifting these small necessities. Each family unravels a bit from one of their own blankets in order to provide Babba Yagga with the needed yarn to reknit the blanket…and the cycle continues.
This is a beautiful story of enough; the village meets their various needs by doing with a little bit less, yet no one is lacking in necessities. It’s timely book, simple, lovely, and kind; it illustrates the beauty of generosity.
As for the illustrations themselves, Elena Odriozola melds the (currently popular) round red-cheeked simply drawn people with detailed, vintage Russian clothing and quilts. The pages are clean and uncluttered, allowing children plenty of room to fit their own imaginings into the story. At the same time, one could easily spend an hour enjoying the clothes and knitted goods displayed. Children will be drawn to the book because of these very details. So many picture books are illustrated with BAM! WAM! POW! colors and are shoved full of too much stuff. The Story Blanket continues the theme of enough, even in its simple, yet rich, illustrations.
Jeni Newswanger Smith is a member of the Englewood Christian Church community in Indianapolis, a mother of four, a crafter and a blogger.