cover image Mr. Coats

Mr. Coats

Sieb Posthuma, trans. from the Dutch by David Colmer. Levine Querido, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-64614-184-5

Posthuma’s (What Ollie Saw) “always cold” protagonist has long been resigned to a solitary life: “He never had any visitors. His house was so boiling hot, no one else could stand it.” On an elaborate quest to feel warmer, he buys and dons a multitude of coats and blankets, in the process turning into a huge mountain of insulation (his tiny, red-capped head pokes through the top like the cherry on a sundae). The layers make it impossible for him to get back inside his house. Among the crowd of people that gathers to gawk at despondent Mr. Coats is someone who’s seen this before; he transports Mr. Coats to Mrs. Coats, a lady who is similarly enrobed. Finding their common interest in “electric blankets, hot water bottles, earmuffs, cups of hot chocolate, sun lamps, fur-lined boots,” the two quickly discover that the warmth of companionship was what they were seeking all along. Matter-of-fact prose and vividly patterned ink and cut-paper drawings (the latter striking a balance between R.O. Blechman and Daniel Pinkwater) offer an elegant fable on the power of connection—and the perils of over-layering. Primary characters read as white. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)