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Coat of Many Colors

Coat of Many Colors

5.0 3
by Dolly Parton, Brooke Boynton Hughes (Illustrator)

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Dolly Parton lends the lyrics of her classic song "Coat of Many Colors" to this heartfelt picture book for young readers.

Country music legend Dolly Parton's rural upbringing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee provides the backdrop for this special picture book. Using lyrics from her classic song "Coat of Many Colors," the book tells the story of a


Dolly Parton lends the lyrics of her classic song "Coat of Many Colors" to this heartfelt picture book for young readers.

Country music legend Dolly Parton's rural upbringing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee provides the backdrop for this special picture book. Using lyrics from her classic song "Coat of Many Colors," the book tells the story of a young girl in need of a warm winter coat. When her mother sews her a coat made of rags, the girl is mocked by classmates for being poor. But Parton's trademark positivity carries through to the end as the girl realizes that her coat was made with love "in every stitch." Beautiful illustrations pair with Parton's poetic lyrics in this heartfelt picture book sure to speak to all young readers.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Country singer/songwriter Parton has, with illustrator Boynton-Hughes, turned her famous song "Coat of Many Colors" into a delightful and evocative picture book. Dolly grew up in rural Tennessee, where love was plentiful but money was scarce. Her mother was given a box of fabric scraps, but with winter coming, Dolly needed a coat. So as the song relates, Dolly's mother pieced together the scraps and made her daughter a "coat of many colors." As she sewed, she told Dolly the Bible story of Joseph's coat of many colors. Of course, Dolly's schoolmates didn't see her coat as special, and they laughed and made fun of her. Parton tells readers that the hurt did not go away until, as an adult, she sat down and wrote this song. This title reminds children that bullying hurts and doesn't help anyone. Boynton-Hughes presents Dolly as a blonde, curly-haired moppet, so happy to be wearing her multihued coat. The bright fall colors give the book vibrancy. The illustrations also depict the love that was abundant in the Parton family. VERDICT A significant addition to both school and public libraries.—Elaine Lesh Morgan, formerly at Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Kirkus Review
Aug. 30, 2016
A patchwork coat created from a box of donated rags is a deeply felt memory from the author’s childhood.The incident evidently had a profound effect, as it led to a song, written in 1971, and a TV movie in 2015. Here, the text is made up entirely of the song’s lyrics. Parton recalls when she had “patches on her britches” and no warm coat. Her mother lovingly creates a patchwork coat while retelling the Bible story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. The little blonde, white girl gratefully and proudly heads off for school, where she is met with jeers and derision. She tries to explain the love and sense of richness she feels, to no avail. Boynton-Hughes’ brightly hued pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations follow the action carefully but are a bit too pretty to convey poverty. The home seems warm and comfortable if old-fashioned, and the other children in the family don’t have patched clothing. There are brown-skinned and white schoolchildren all taking part in the event; this may appeal to modern readers, but it doesn't ring true for early-1950s rural Tennessee, where school segregation was statutory. In an author’s note Parton exhorts young readers, bullies and victims alike, to have understanding hearts and find comfort in knowing that hurts can heal. Tender and heartfelt with a loving message—if a little sanitized. (Picture book. 4-8)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Never have I seen a song become a book so successfully as Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors. Judith Sutton beautifully illustrates Parton's story of the mother who helped her daughter to escape from poverty with the richness of storytelling and caring. Sutton captures the strength of relationships, the beauty of country life, and a young child completely happy in her life.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Dolly Parton recalls how her mama tried to make her feel special in her little ragged coat. She told me, "I was poor only if I chose to be." This is the genesis of Dolly's song and now her picture book. The child in the story has no coat to wear to school so her mama makes her one from the rags in her rag box. The kids tease her but the girl tells them how rich she feels because of the love her mama sewed in every stitch. The pictures set the scene in the hills of Tennessee while the lyrics tell the story. Alas, the music is not included.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.60(d)
AD690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 Months to 18 Years

Meet the Author

Dolly Parton is an internationally renowned superstar who has contributed timeless classics to the world of music entertainment, including “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and the mega-hit “I Will Always Love You.” She has garnered 7 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. She has written over 3,000 songs and authored 4 books, including the inspirational Dream More (Putnam) and the children’s book, I Am A Rainbow (Penguin).
Ms. Parton’s Dollywood Company provides family entertainment and hospitality to 5 million guests per year at Dollywood, Splash Country, Dixie Stampede, Pirate’s Voyage, Lumberjack Adventure, and the Dream More Resort.     
In 1988, she began the Dollywood Foundation to inspire children in her home community to dream more, learn more, do more, and care more. Currently the foundation offers the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to communities across America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Belize. The program works with local partners to give every preschool child a book each month from the time he or she is born until the child reaches kindergarten. Currently over 90 million books have been gifted to preschool children.

Brooke Boynton-Hughes grew up in Colorado, where she spent her time drawing and hiking with her family. She has a BFA in printmaking from Colorado State University and an MFA in figurative art from the New York Academy of Art.  To see more of Brooke’s work, please visit www.BrookeBoyntonHughes.com.

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Coat of Many Colors 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A heartfelt story told in a captivating way. A must have for all kids! A great lesson to be learned in a world filled with hatred and greed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dolly Parton did a greatjob with this book. It is simply written and beautifully illustrated. The words of her popular song 'Coat of many colors' come to life in pictures. This book is appealing because it teaches two valuable lessons while it entertains. The lessons: 1. Wealth comes from love not material riches 2.Children who feel loved can more easily overcome the taunts and teasing of less fortunate children. My grandaughter loved this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago