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Old Jake's Skirts Paperback – July 1, 2003

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this amiable if rambling picture book, a debut for both Scott and Slonim, an unlikely catalyst rejuvenates a pessimistic old loner of a farmer. Traveling into town for his monthly shopping trip, Old Jake discovers a trunk in the road; months later, when no one claims it, he opens it to discover stacks of calico skirts. The spring rains have come, so he uses the skirts to "drink up" the water that's leaked into his house. He then takes pieces of the skirts to clothe his scarecrow, patch his overalls and make neckerchiefs for himself and his hound, until Jake's farm looks "downright merry" and his spirits lift. By the time the trunk's rightful owner appears, Old Jake has thawed enough to welcome both neighbors and strangers. Lightly turned, authentic-sounding dialect recommends this story as a read-aloud to children who may be put off by the text-heavy pages and leisurely pacing. The thickly textured oil paintings, also folksy in feeling and essentially realistic in their renderings, reward readers with quietly comic flourishes: Old Jake tips his hat to the refurbished scarecrow; one of a troupe of visiting church ladies accidentally steps out of a high-heeled white pump. But such inviting details don't emerge until the story is well under wayApatience is required for the verbal and visual engines to kick in. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


As oddball a character as you're likely to meet between picture-book covers is Old Jake, a reclusive pumpkin farmer, who finds a beat-up old steamer trunk that unexpectedly changes his life. Jake and his hound dog Shoestring become as real as next door neighbors in David Slonim's deeply felt oil paintings, and author Scott's sympathetic portrait of her scruffy hero, and his hardscrabble existence on the West Texas plains, creates a character and milieu young listeners won't soon forget. How a trunk full of cotton calico skirts transforms a hermit into a genial neighbor adds up to a suspenseful, unusual tale. -- From Parents' Choice® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing Llc (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873588398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873588393
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,722,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book about how a life can be changed by an unexpected gift, and how the love of someone can spread to others who are unknown to them. I read this to my little girl, and almost couldn't finish it--I was crying so. It is a very meaningful book, and shows how God's providence can change our lives and the lives of those around us.
I almost forgot about the illustrations! They are vivid, and express the joy of a life that has been changed by love.
I'm sorry, this review is really sappy, but I loved this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on June 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Old Jake is a curmudgeon. He lives alone on his farm and likes it that way. Jake just doesn't take to people. His dog Shoestring is enough company for him.

On his monthly trip to town for supplies, Jake and Shoestring find a battered old trunk resting in the middle of the road, and Jake leaves the unknown owner a lost and found note at the store. Months later, when no one has claimed the trunk, Old Jake finds many uses for its contents of calico skirts.

Jake uses the skirts to mop up rainwater that leaked through the roof of his home during a rain storm, dresses up his scarecrow, patches clothes and makes neckerchiefs for himself and Shoestring. His farm is now bright and prettied up. At least he and the church ladies think so.

One day a young girl and her father arrive at the farm looking for the trunk as it had contained the skirts of the man's wife who recently died. Old Jake expresses his sorrow and explains what has happened to the skirts. He gives the young girl the last one, now hanging outside on the clothesline. Jake also gives the young girl a beautifully hand-carved doll dressed in a calico skirt.

I love this story! It is about an unexpected gift that keeps on giving. The skirts transform Old Jake's attitude and behavior, and in turn, his transformation is felt by other people.

I would suggest that this is a book best read to children over age 7 as it is quite lengthy and pretty heavy on text.

The illustrations are stunning and could be framed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peppermint on August 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, the illustrations in this book are priceless! When I first read it to my children, I could barely turn a page without their comments and chuckles about an expression on a character or some other subtle detail they noticed. Secondly, as a home-educating mother, this book is a gold mine of themes: honesty, resourcefulness, spirituality, social skills, death, generosity, and most of all, positive attitude. My children, ages 3 and 5 are a bit young for all it has to offer but they still enjoy it immensely and request it frequently. I would recommend this to any child ages 7 and up. It is a beautiful volume that really makes your children think...and ask questions!
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Format: Paperback
I work with secondary students who have reading problems. My students have enjoyed both of C. Anne Scott's books, Old Jake's Skirts and Lizard Meets Ivana the Terrible. The books are easy for them to read and keep them entertained. Both books have messages that kids outside the "norm" can relate to. I really enjoyed reading both these books as well, and the illustrations are well done - especially in Old Jakes' Skirts. Both books are positive in nature, but never preachy. I highly recommend both.
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