cover image My Grandfather’s Coat

My Grandfather’s Coat

Jim Aylesworth, illus by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-92545-7

Based on the Yiddish folksong “I Had a Little Overcoat,” this splendid tale chronicles four generations. Aylesworth and McClintock (who collaborated on Our Abe Lincoln) perform a lovely pas de deux, from a boy’s arrival at Ellis Island (“He came alone and with little more than nothing at all”) to his story being shared with a great-grandson. In America, the young man becomes a tailor and, for his wedding, “He snipped, and he clipped, and he stitched, and he sewed, and he made for himself a handsome coat.” The midnight-blue, knee-length coat serves him for years, “until at last.../ he wore it out!” In meticulous panels, McClintock pictures the man and his wife working and caring for a daughter, who grows up to have a daughter of her own, and so on. Aylesworth repeats the snipping-and-clipping, stitching-and-sewing formula, with the grandfather altering his coat into “a smart jacket,” “a snazzy vest,” and finally “a stylish tie that he wore on my mother’s wedding day!” Warmth emanates from this thoughtful book, which deserves to become a multigenerational family favorite. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)