BUYING MITTENS by Nankichi Niimi


Age Range: 5 - 7
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First published in 1988 in Japan, this tale does not survive its translation. A small fox experiences winter for the first time, tumbling, scampering, and running in the snow-covered world. Soon he returns to his mother complaining that his paws hurt and tingle with cold. Mother takes one of little fox’s paws and “magically turned it into the cute hand of a human child.” She sends her child off to town to buy mittens, warning her child to show only the human hand to the storekeeper. The small fox finds the town and the storekeeper, and politely asks for mittens, sticking a paw through the open doorway. In his confusion he puts forward the wrong paw; but the storekeeper, once he is sure the fox has real money, finds a pair of mittens and puts them on the fox’s paws. The fox returns home, baffled by his mother’s fear of humans. The plot has folkloric elements, but the text is wordy, sentimental, and pedestrian. Although the art can’t compensate for the text, the jacket painting holds the promise of luminous illustrations within, with a glowing white fox against of soft pearl-gray landscape. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1999
ISBN: 0-8248-2128-7
Page count: 40pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1999