'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 17 June 2019

Review: The Coat

Picture Book of the Year, 2013, The Coat with Ron Brooks’ exquisite illustrations from cover to cover including the end pages, is a divine experience. The text is as magical as is the coat that the story is about.

The coat is filled with straw and stands in a paddock. It is tight with anger and feels it’s wasted simply being the resting place of straw and various small creatures.
What a waste of me! it bemoans its fate. 

The wind fills his arms as a man passes and imagines it’s waving at him. He comes closer. Noticing that it is an expensive looking coat with a lot of wear left in it, he empties the straw and although it seems to be too large for his frame, he believes with time he can grow into it.

Each it becomes we. Both are no longer alone. They set out for the town, not knowing where they were headed. The coat fills with wind again and it carries them along over bridges and through tunnels to the town. The coat speaks through the man.

He ends up in a restaurant that is expecting him, and eats food which he has never heard of before. A transformation of great proportions takes place as opportunity after opportunity is offered and accepted. It’s as if life had been waiting for him, and there was no road visible before the coat, that would lead him to what he was supposed to become. 

The man is recognized as having talent inside him, talent that others saw but which was invisible to the disappointed and purposeless man.  The coat, which now fitted him perfectly, had shown him how valued he could be; what his purpose was.

This story has many interpretations, depending on who is reading it. I see it like this. Sometimes the things people want seem beyond their grasp, or they feel that the shoes offered are too big to fit into. Perception is everything. One should always strive for high ideals because each person is more than they know. It takes opportunity, the right time and the right place or person, to help you see what you are really capable of.

Title: The Coat
Author: Julie Hunt
Illustrator: Ron Brooks
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: May 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781741146059
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book