As in his Caldecott Honor book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Taback's inventive use of die-cut pages shows off his signature artwork, here newly created for his 1977 adaptation of a Yiddish folk song. This diverting, sequential story unravels as swiftly as the threads of Joseph's well-loved, patch-covered plaid coat. A flip of the page allows children to peek through to subsequent spreads as Joseph's tailoring produces items of decreasing size. The author puts a droll spin on his narrative when Joseph loses the last remnant of the coat--a button--and decides to make a book about it. ""Which shows... you can always make something out of nothing,"" writes Taback, who wryly slips himself into his story by depicting Joseph creating a dummy for the book that readers are holding. Still, it's the bustling mixed-media artwork, highlighted by the strategically placed die-cuts, that steals the show. Taback works into his folk art a menagerie of wide-eyed animals witnessing the overcoat's transformation, miniature photographs superimposed on paintings and some clever asides reproduced in small print (a wall hanging declares, ""Better to have an ugly patch than a beautiful hole""; a newspaper headline announces, ""Fiddler on Roof Falls off Roof""). With its effective repetition and an abundance of visual humor, this is tailor-made for reading aloud. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999 Release date: 10/01/1999 Genre: Children's
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