Woodcutter's Coat

Woodcutter's Coat

by Ferida Wolff, Anne Wilsdorf

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This winsome tale of a wayward garment is rendered all the more delightful by its antic illustrations. A woodcutter buys himself a fine, warm coat. But when a thief steals it, the coat is off on a merry journey through the village--it changes hands repeatedly, only to end up with the woodcutter at last. Wolff ( Pink Slippers ; Bat Mitzvah Blues ) recounts her story in the unadorned, declarative sentences of a folktale (the story is, in fact, drawn from an old Yiddish proverb). Especially satisfying is the sweetly ironic, here-we-go-again ending, in which coat and woodcutter are reunited--for the present. but perhaps not for long. In Wilsdorf's ( Philomene ) detail-packed ink-and-watercolor illustrations, the fur-trimmed garment wends its way through village scenes that exude the teeming life of Brueghel and the manic energy of George Booth. In a bustling barbershop, demonic children squirt each other with shaving cream and a waiting customer proudly displays the lone hair on his bald pate. Plump patrons down luscious desserts in the town bakery, where a cat snoozes on a shelf and children wreak havoc. A low-key treat. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- In this original tale with an Old-World flavor, a woodcutter who lives at the edge of the cold North Woods counts on his heavy fur-collared coat to keep him warm. But, as he neglects to sew on the buttons as they fall off, it no longer does the job. A thief who steals it from him quickly switches it for a better one that he finds hanging in a busy barber shop. So begins the journey of the coat from one person to the next, each finding it unsatisfactory for one reason or another until it is finally sold to the tailor who spruces it up for resale. He's done such a good job that the woodcutter doesn't recognize it when he arrives at the tailor's with his supply of winter wood. A trade is made, and he leaves the shop happy to have a warm coat again--except for the button that pops off as he waves goodbye . . . . The funny, predictable story is whimsically enhanced by the detailed cartoon illustrations. An amusing selection for a winter story hour.-- Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Stephanie Zvirin
A sprightly picture book that ends where it began--almost. An industrious woodcutter purchases a fine, warm coat. Eventually, the coat's pocket becomes dirty, its hem falls down, its trim starts to look bedraggled, and its buttons pop off. On the way to the tailor, the woodcutter encounters a thief who steals the coat. Angry when he notices that the garment has no buttons, the thief steals a coat from the rack at the barber shop, leaving the woodcutter's coat in its place. The barbershop customer (who cleans the coat's pocket) discovers the coat is too small. He trades it to the baker (who sews on the buttons) . . . who trades it to the mail carrier (who sews the hem) . . . who trades it to the doctor . . . who trades it to the tailor . . . who trades it to, you guessed it, who was reminded of "the coat he used to have, except the pockets were clean, the hem wasn't dangling, and the fur was nice and fluffy." The ebullient illustrations, in watercolor with ink line, evoke an appealingly offbeat Eastern European village (the doctor is a woman) in a time past. They brim with funny repetition and details that make the outlandish story even more comical.

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Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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