Review of The Three Little Mittens

The Three Little Mittens The Three Little Mittens
by Linda Bailey; illus. by Natalia Shaloshvili
Primary    Tundra    32 pp.
10/23    9781774880111    $17.99
e-book ed.  9781774880128    $10.99

Dotty and Other Dotty are a perfect match. The pair of yellow-spotted, pink, woolly mittens flaunt their partnership in front of lonesome single mitten Stripes. Drab and gray in both affect and appearance, Stripes has been relegated to her human’s pocket ever since Other Stripes went missing. Rather than empathize with the lonesome mitten, Dotty and Other Dotty lord their assumed superiority over Stripes. “What’s the use of a single mitten?” they sneer, sending Stripes into a mitt-sized existential crisis. But when Other Dotty is left behind in the snow and Stripes’s long-lost partner is found, the mittens are forced to confront their behavior and their biases. Bailey’s story of inclusion and acceptance balances any didacticism with a playful tone. “This is just weird,” declares Dotty when paired with Stripes, and the illustration shows that visual clash. Rendered in acrylics and watercolor pencils, Shaloshvili’s illustrations are soft and sweet, with colors befitting a gray winter’s day and a child’s cold, rosy cheeks. Justice is restored when our mitten-wearing (and -losing) kid decides to mix and match her collection—giving all her fuzzy friends an equal chance.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Hill Saxton

Hill Saxton is a youth services librarian at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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