THE COAT OF MANY COLORS

Jenny Koralek, Author, Pauline Baynes, Illustrator , illlus. by Pauline Baynes. Eerdmans $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5277-9

The duo behind The Moses Basket returns with this accessible interpretation of the story of Joseph. And happily for readers, Baynes's (The Chronicles of Narnia ) elegant paintings, evoking Egyptian stoneware tableaux, give the titular garment its dazzling due. Favored son Joseph invokes the ire of his siblings when he receives a special coat from their father and boasts of his dream visions. But despite being beaten and sold into slavery by his own bitter brothers, Joseph's special talent eventually saves not only himself and his family, but all of Egypt, as well. Koralek truncates the tale ("Joseph was now a slave in Egypt. But not for long" covers the two years Joseph serves as slave before deciphering the pharoah's dream and being freed), but the author keeps the story child-friendly, emphasizing the strong note of Joseph's forgiveness and contrasting it with the very human, wicked behavior of his brethren. Young readers will easily identify with the feelings of rivalry and will enjoy being transported, via Baynes's artwork, to the ancient desert and to the pharaoh's brilliantly adorned palace. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/25/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-84507-130-1
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