Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE RAG COAT by Lauren Mills


by Lauren Mills & illustrated by Lauren Mills

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-316-57407-4
Publisher: Little, Brown

 Minna's family can't afford a coat for her, but Papa keeps her warm in winter with a burlap sack and Mama's patchwork quilt; this happy family understands that ``People only need people, and nothing else.'' Soon, Minna loses one of those people: Papa, a coal miner, gets the lung sickness and dies, after urging eight- year-old Minna to start school. There's still the problem of the coat, solved by neighbors who contribute scraps and help to make one of patchwork lined with the old sack, ready almost as soon as cold weather begins. At first, the other children tease Minna about her outlandish garment; then, learning that the patchwork contains bits of their own histories, they begin to honor Minna and the stories she tells about the coat's many pieces. This sweet, sober tale about love and good will overcoming poverty is reminiscent of Marguerite de Angeli's thoughtful books--especially in the soft, delicately detailed illustrations with their subtly poignant charcterizations and lovingly evoked setting in time past. Unusually appealing. (Picture book. 5-10)*justify no*