Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Simms Taback, Author, Simms Taback, Illustrator Viking Children's Books $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-87855-0
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
Hardcover - 34 pages - 978-0-394-83251-7
Hardcover - 978-0-87499-783-5
Audio Product - 1 pages - 978-1-59112-412-2
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-14-056358-0
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-986-5811-24-2
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4619-0924-8
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