THE CHRISTMAS COAT by Clyde Robert Bulla


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While their widowed Mama works in other people's houses to support them, schoolboys Hans and Otto--just a year apart--quarrel interminably. ""Can't you be good?"" Mama begs, but each is sure the other is at fault. When they peek inside a Christmas package and find a lovely coat, each also imagines it's his; they struggle, and the coat tears. The coat, it turns out, is a neighbor's gift to her son that was hidden in their house for safekeeping. In consternation, the boys cajole the tailor who made it into mending it, take a good look at themselves, and decide to reform--the best Christmas gift of all for Mama. In her kindly, realistic illustrations, Wickstrom sets this gentle, moral story in the past, perhaps the 1920's. Meanwhile, Bulla--in his usual simple, direct style--goes to the heart of children's experiences, portraying this believable brotherly reconciliation without sentimentality. A fine story for the season.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1990
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Knopf