A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Poor Joseph! His beloved overcoat is old and worn. Clever Joseph! He continues to find ways to ingeniously reinvent his tattered attire. Although Joseph's clothing is patched and worn, the cheerful, vibrant illustrations reveal the true riches in this Yiddish farmer's life.
Is it any good?
On first reading, JOSEPH HAD A LITTLE OVERCOAT is a vibrantly illustrated and simply patterned story. When you read it again (and the younger crowd will repeatedly request that you do), it will nudge its way onto your list of favorites. The text is sparse, but it faithfully depicts the day-to-day life of a Yiddish farmer. And Joseph displays heroic determination in his quest to save his overcoat, looking life's crises in the eye and outmaneuvering them with a healthy dose of thrift and a needle and thread.
Simms Taback is a master of collage: Dozens of photographed faces peek out of an apartment scene, and painted plants are topped with real vegetables. Kids find the clothing-shaped, die-cut holes irresistible; they'll flip between pages to determine what mystery object lies behind the hole. Taback doesn't neglect grown-up readers -- hints of Freud and The Fiddler on the Roof promise to tickle your fancy.