From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4-- Minna, a young Appalachian girl, wants very badly to attend school, but she doesn't have a coat. Her father has just died and her family cannot afford one. When a group of mothers who gather at her house regularly to make quilts hear of her predicament, they decide to help her. Minna is thrilled, but when the new coat is finished and she wears it to the one-room schoolhouse, she is teased by her classmates for wearing rags. Minna is hurt, but she eventually gains their interest when she explains that her coat is full of stories--their stories--for each scrap has come from one of their homes. The children are enthralled and sorry for their taunts. Mills's care and attention to details make her book as charming as her narrative. The paper is a cream color, and the watercolor palette is warm but faded to give an antique cast to the illustrations. The large, lovely paintings that bring the characters and period to life are balanced by text on the bottom half of the left-hand pages; the generous blank space is filled with small scraps of colorful cloth. The writing is lyrical; its heartwarming message emphasizes the value of a community and sharing. It might even inspire a class quilting project--and a chance to share more stories. --Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
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) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.