The Unforgotten Coat

Frank Cottrell Boyce, Author, Carl Hunter, Photographer, Clare Heney, Photographer
Frank Cottrell Boyce, photos by Carl Hunter and Clare Heney. Candlewick, $15.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5729-1
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-2225-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4558-4539-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4558-9073-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-2227-0
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Boyce follows Cosmic with a tight, powerful story—brimming with humor, mystery, and pathos—about illegal immigration and the price it exacts on children. Two Mongolian brothers, Chingis and Nergui, arrive at a British school wearing fur coats and refusing to follow the teacher’s instructions that Nergui remove his hat that’s low on his face: “When you need your eagle to be calm,” Chingis says, “you cover its eyes with a hood. When you want the eagle to fly and kill, you take off the hood.” The class is enthralled, and when Chingis singles our sixth-year Julie to be their “Good Guide,” things that had previously fascinated her (makeup, boys) fall away as she bones up on Genghis Khan and helps the boys learn Liverpudlian slang and the rules of football—“learning themselves ordinary,” she terms it. They tell her they are hiding from a demon, punctuating their tall tales with Polaroids, taken by Hunter and Heney (Boyce’s filmmaker collaborators), which deepen the mystery. In an author’s note Boyce explains his inspiration, making an already moving story even more so. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
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