An immigrant tailor passes the American dream on to new generations, one stitch at a time.
He made a coat for his wedding and wore it for years until it was ragged and torn, at which point he cut it down to make a jacket. The pattern continues, with each item becoming smaller. The jacket became a vest, then a tie, then a toy for a great-grandchild. The worn-out toy provides a nest for a mouse until that also disintegrates into nothing. But, of course there’s more to it, for it is now a wonderful story. Aylesworth takes an old Yiddish folk song and tale and, just like the tailor, brings it to fresh, new life. Two sprightly snatches of singsong repetition accompany the deterioration of each of the garments and the stitching of the new one. “He wore it, and he wore it.…[H]e frayed it, and he tore it” is followed by “he snipped, and he clipped, and he stitched, and he sewed.” Each incarnation comes after years of hard work and rites of passage, only a few of which are stated in the text. McClintock’s depictions of the tailor through his lifetime, rendered in pen, ink and watercolor, are detailed evocations of a warm, loving family. The narrative and illustrations make a perfect whole.
Sweet and tender and joyful. (author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 4-9)