Monday, March 11, 2013

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Thanks to Kimberly Cron for this reflection.
Taback, S.  (1999).  Joseph had a little overcoat. New York: Penguin Group.

In this interactive edition of Joseph had a little overcoat,  the reader journeys with Joseph as he reuses his coat to make a jacket to make a vest to make a scarf to make a necktie to make a handkerchief to make a button to make nothing to make a book.  The moral of the story is you can reuse anything as long as you use your imagination.  The original edition of the book published in 1977 is a Caldecott Medal Winner.  The edition that I have, published in 1999, is interactive.  As Joseph makes new items, the pages are cut out to reveal the items.

This book is one of my daughters' favorites.  I know we are suppose to blog about books that we have not read before, but I had to blog about this one.  I never understood why my girls would always pull this one off of the shelf to read.  I asked them today.  Their response was "We like how he reused his items, Mom.  It means we can reuse old stuff to make something new."

How profound this little picture book is!  I am so wasteful and tend to not see the value of broken or tattered items.  However, I thoroughly enjoy watching shows on TV that illustrate how people take junk and reuse it.  I always think to myself that I could do that.  Well, this book shows how we can reuse something as simple as a coat all the way to making a story.

The illustrations in this book are complex, using watercolor, pencil, ink and collage.  The artwork is colorful and bold.  The different textures, from smooth to rough as depicted in the rugs and curtains, have the reader seeing realistic images.  The illustrations are folk artsy in that the buildings and animals have the feel of folk art.

When Joseph is looking for his lost button, the picture is full of items, from mirrors, to thread, to letters.  However, when he realized he could not find the button, the picture is bare.  There is nothing on the floor, signifying the loss.  Then, when he writes his book, the picture is full again of items strewn over the floor, signifying the fullness.

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