The Mitten book by Jan Brett Cover

The Mitten: Comparing, writing and tech skills

Compare various versions of The Mitten, create comparison tables and spreadsheets, then use these writing frames to encourage young writers.

The Mitten is a Ukrainian folktale. In the story, a young boy loses his mitten in the snow and one by one, woodland animals crawl into the mitten to get warm.

Sequence of animals

There are several versions of the classic story, The Mitten. Jan Brett wrote the popular version of The Mitten with these animals:

The Mitten by Jan Brett on YouTube:

Another version of the Mitten was written by Jim Aylesworth. The animals in his version appeared in this order:

The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth on YouTube:

Compare the two versions of The Mitten

These two versions are based on the same folklore story, but the underlying themes are different. After reading a version of The Mitten, ask your student about the tone of the story and the moral of the story.

Jim Aylesworth version of The Mitten is a lesson of kindness and friendship as the animals allowed more animals to stay in the mitten on a freezing cold night. The moral of Jan Brett’s version is more about the scarcity of space and what happens when the space is too crowded.

In Jan Brett’s version of the The Mitten, the tone of the story is different. The animals move over for a different reason. How does the animal descriptions change the tone of the story? Ask your student to describe the animal traits listed in the story. (Examples: “rabbit’s big kickers” and the owl’s “glinty talons”.) Why were these animal allowed inside the mitten? (The animals felt like they have to make room, as they were afraid of the other animals.) What did the author’s descriptive language with image-building adjectives infer? (The new animals have predatory traits.)

Writing activity

Using Jan Brett’s version, provide the writing prompt, “Why did the animals let the other animals in?” Depending on your student’s tech goals, create a table or spreadsheet with these three heading options:

Reread the book. Tell your student to look for evidence to support one of these claims. Write the evidence in the spread sheet or table. Example: Under the “They are afraid of other animals” column, write “when they saw owl’s glinty talons”

Image: The Mitten Table 1

Note: The downloads are Microsoft products (Word and Excel); if your classroom is using Google or Apple products, recreate these documents as Google Docs/Apple Pages and Google Sheets/Apple Numbers.

Using the information in the table or spreadsheet, scaffold the student’s writing with a frame, to help the student organize his/her writing:

Image: The Mitten Frame 1

Modification: Filling out the frame can first be reviewed orally before the student independently fills in the frame.

Comparing third story

Interested in comparing a third version of story? Check out The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt! The animals in this version appear in this order:

What is the tone of this version of the story? Why was the boy in the woods?

Comparison activity

Pick two (or use all three) story versions. What is the same? What is different? Tell the student to create a table or spreadsheet with the following headings and to fill in the content:

Author, Characters, Beginning of Story, End of Story, Other

Image: The Mitten Table 2

Comparison writing activity

Using the information in the table or spreadsheet, scaffold the student’s writing with a frame, to help them organize their writing:

Image: The Mitten Frame 2

Download The Mitten Frame 2 Word document with editable text fields.


By Diane Brauner

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