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Old Jake's Skirts

Old Jake's Skirts

by Cynthia Anne Scott, David Slonim (Illustrator), David Slonim (Illustrator)

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An old man finds happiness when he discovers a trunk of skirts


An old man finds happiness when he discovers a trunk of skirts

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this amiable if rambling picture book, a debut for both Scott and Slonim, an unlikely catalyst rejuvenates a pessimistic old loner of a farmer. Traveling into town for his monthly shopping trip, Old Jake discovers a trunk in the road; months later, when no one claims it, he opens it to discover stacks of calico skirts. The spring rains have come, so he uses the skirts to "drink up" the water that's leaked into his house. He then takes pieces of the skirts to clothe his scarecrow, patch his overalls and make neckerchiefs for himself and his hound, until Jake's farm looks "downright merry" and his spirits lift. By the time the trunk's rightful owner appears, Old Jake has thawed enough to welcome both neighbors and strangers. Lightly turned, authentic-sounding dialect recommends this story as a read-aloud to children who may be put off by the text-heavy pages and leisurely pacing. The thickly textured oil paintings, also folksy in feeling and essentially realistic in their renderings, reward readers with quietly comic flourishes: Old Jake tips his hat to the refurbished scarecrow; one of a troupe of visiting church ladies accidentally steps out of a high-heeled white pump. But such inviting details don't emerge until the story is well under waypatience is required for the verbal and visual engines to kick in. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4--Old Jake is not a people person. He hardly talks to anyone, lives alone with his hound dog, Shoestring, and whittles at night. Life changes when he finds a trunk full of bright calico skirts on the road. When it remains unclaimed, he opens it and finds that the skirts come in handy to sop up leaks, dress a scarecrow, make neckerchiefs for himself and Shoestring, and patch what needs patching. Jake's place (and Jake himself) become "downright merry," so much so that when the church ladies invite him to a picnic, he allows that he just might come. The trunk's mystery is revealed when a girl and her father come to his farm to claim it; the clothes belonged to the girl's recently deceased mother. Jake has one skirt left, which he gives to the girl, along with a carving of--what else--a woman in a calico skirt. The theme of Jake's transformation is amplified by Slonim's illustrations. Rich oil paintings of the crusty hermit, his lonely farm, and sad-eyed Shoestring form one side of each double-page spread, while pencil sketches are tucked into the text on the other side. Humorous details (such as Jake dancing with the newly skirted scarecrow) add depth and broaden the book's appeal. An original story to make thoughtful readers smile.--Sally Bates Goodroe, Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX

Product Details

Rising Moon
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.02(w) x 9.45(h) x 0.42(d)
590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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