Joseph Had a Little Overcoat


Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is the title of a 1999 book by Simms Taback that won the 2000 Caldecott Medal. The main character is Joseph, a 40-something Jewish farmer, who has a little striped overcoat. When it is old, Joseph makes it into a little jacket and so on until he makes it into a button. Then Joseph loses the button and makes a story out of it. The moral of the story is "you can always make something out of nothing." The story has die-cut illustrations consisting of watercolor and collage. Readers of the story say that Joseph greatly resembles Simms Taback.Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is based on the Yiddish song I Had a Little Overcoat. Barbara Kiefer, chair of the Caldecott Award Committee, commented, "Vibrant rich colors, playful details, and skillfully-placed die cuts contribute to the books raucous merriment that takes this Yiddish folk song far beyond the simple words."The story is read on the children's show Between the Lions.
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original title: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
date of publication: 1999
genre: picture book

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