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A Cloak for the Dreamer
     

A Cloak for the Dreamer

by Aileen Friedman, Kim Howard (Illustrator)
 

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Once there was a tailor who had three fine sons. Whenever his older sons Ivan and Alex weren't working, they practiced measuring, cutting, and sewing. But Misha, the youngest, spent every moment poring over maps of the world and dreaming of traveling far and wide.

When the Archduke ordered new clothes for an important journey, the tailor asked his sons for help.

Overview

Once there was a tailor who had three fine sons. Whenever his older sons Ivan and Alex weren't working, they practiced measuring, cutting, and sewing. But Misha, the youngest, spent every moment poring over maps of the world and dreaming of traveling far and wide.

When the Archduke ordered new clothes for an important journey, the tailor asked his sons for help. The father was pleased with Ivan's and Alex's work, and said they would make fine tailors. But, alas, though Misha's cloak of circles was very beautiful, it was full of open spaces. The tailor could fill the Archduke's order, but what could he do about Misha the dreamer?

Complemented by luminous watercolor paintings, this warm and perceptive tale introduces the relationships between geometric shapes and proves that learning math can be as delightful as reading a well-told story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While teaching a little elementary geometry, this title in the Marilyn Burns Brainy Day series also offers a lesson about fitting square pegs in round holes. Ivan and Alex want to be tailors like their father, but youngest brother Misha dreams of travel. When each son must fashion a cloak for the archduke, Ivan sews one using rectangles of fabric. Alex makes a cloak of squares and an extra cloak of triangles. But Misha's disastrous cloak of circles demonstrates the geometrical concept that shapes must have angles to fit together. Seeing that Misha's heart lies elsewhere, the tailor frees his son to travel the world. As a farewell gift, the tailor presents Misha with the fateful cloak, whose circles he has snipped into snug-fitting hexagons and then restitched. Friedman's story provides an agreeable front for the lesson, and capable watercolors lend a pleasing old-world ambiance. Three pages of clearly written instruction and teaching tips follow the story. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
In a fairy tale, when a man has three sons, one of them (usually the youngest) is bound to be a dreamer and Friedman's tale is no exception. The tailor's sons must make three cloaks for the Archduke, and while the older two make theirs of squares, rectangles, and triangles, Misha has tried to make his of circles. Misha has dreamt about going off into the world, and his father realizes that it's time for him to go; he'll never be a tailor. Before he leaves, his brothers join his father and cut the circles of his coat into hexagons, which they sew together to make a cloak. The mathematics is so seamlessly integrated into the story that you don't notice until the final "For Parents, Teachers, and Other Adults" that mathematical principles have been taught.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Books written for a particular purpose are never quite as good as stories that stand on their own, and this one is no exception. Misha, the son of a tailor, doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps as his brothers do, but would rather travel the world. When the tailor tells each of his sons to make a cloak for the archduke to test their skills, two of them make patchworks of squares, triangles, and rectangles. Misha, inspired by the maps he pores over, cuts circles, but they don't fit together, leaving spaces between the pieces of fabric. Seeing the garment, the tailor realizes he must let his son follow his dream. Misha's father and brothers fix the coat by cutting the circles into hexagons and give it to him as a parting gift. An afterword explains about angles, degrees, and shapes. Illustrations set the tale in a busy Eastern European town. Tertiary colors in watercolor and pen and ink are busy and sketchy, picturing the cluttered interior of the tailor's shop. A title for those interested in math, or for kids who like a story to solve.-Sally Bates Goodroe, Houston Public Library
Mary Harris Veeder
ger for reading aloud. Instead of being sent out in ragged clothes to find the princess of his dreams, young Misha is given a kindly send-off by his father and brothers, wrapped in a cloak they have fashioned from one Misha himself tried to make from circular pieces of cloth. Emotion and mathematics are both at work in this Marilyn Burns Brainy Day Book that is suited to an older audience than Burns' "The Greedy Triangle", reviewed on p.1008. Appended to the tale are three pages, intended for adult readers, that explain the geometric facts at issue and suggest activities for children. The gentle pastels of Howard's watercolors make clear that Misha's world is not an oppressive one. There are no villains there--only people who understand shapes and people who don't. This will be a reassuring story for the latter variety.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780590489874
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
07/28/1994
Series:
Brainy Day Books Series
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.86(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.17(d)
Lexile:
AD740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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