Review Blog

May 29 2019

The jacket by Sue-Ellen Pashley

cover image

Illus. by Thea Baker. Black Dog Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925381788.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Clothing, Sharing, Family, Love. A beloved jacket being handed on to the next person as it becomes too small, is a theme repeated in many families, but is here told with such sympathy and endearment that all those who read it will sigh with recognition and delight.
The jacket is soft as dandelion fluff, warm like the afternoon sun, comforting as a Teddy's hug, and with four dazzling buttons down the front. The girl wears it everywhere, and when it is too small for her it is passed down to her younger sister. She loves it just as much, wearing it to all sorts of places, even the beach. When it becomes too small for her it becomes a doll's jacket, and then when the girls go to school, it lies lost and remains forlorn under the wardrobe. But here the cat finds it, just the thing for her newborn kittens and the girls snuggle them into the warmth of the old jacket. One by one the kittens go to their new homes, and the jacket is again under threat as Mum wants to put it in the ragbag. But the girls are sad, so instead she remakes it for her third child, and the jacket is still warm and soft and comforting.
This beautiful story about precious things being recycled, about the love within a family will elicit sighs from the audience as it is read out loud. They will easily recognise the importance of some items within the family, sharing stories of the precious things passed on from one child to another, and see the value of recycling goods.
The stunning illustrations underscore the warmth and family closeness of the story. Using collage, Baker has beautifully presented the children at play, the jacket always in the centre of the image. Kids will love recognising the various things she has used to create her illustrations and want to try it for themselves after the book is read. Activities can be found in Walker's Storytime kit.
Fran Knight

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