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The Unforgotten Coat Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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Funny, sad, haunting and original...A tricky, magical delight.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A tight, powerful story-brimming with humor, mystery, and pathos.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Frank Cottrell Boyce has written several children's books, including MILLIONS, winner of the Carnegie Medal, and COSMIC, both of which have been turned into films. This is his first book with Candlewick Press. He lives in England with his family.
Carl Hunter and Clare Heney are both filmmakers who have partnered on a number of short films, including an adaptation of Frank Cottrell Boyce's short story Accelerate. They live in England.
Top customer reviews
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I've listened to the audio and read the book and been moved by both. The experiences of Chingis and Nergui, two refugee brothers and the sixth-year girl they meet at school who becomes their "Good Guide" and tells their story will stay in your heart.
These "Mongolian" brothers show Julie the bliss of having the gift of imagination. As an adult, she pieces together parts of their story and figures out what was really happening from the pictures to the coats to the demon. Julie and the brothers give you laughs and you, the reader, can really compare yourself to these moments of fun.
"The Unforgotten Coat" can be suitable for adults, teens and kids alike. I personally wouldn't suggest it for anybody under 6 because of the way the humor is being shown. It only slightly surfaces and could be hard for younger readers to understand. Also, the meaning and importance of the plot can be hard to grasp. Kids can probably relate to the conveyed feelings of the characters better though.
This book has some very interesting parts. My personal favorite parts are mostly the funny moments. I enjoyed that the author used the simile "it was like watching high tension tennis." The new students were contradicting the teacher and the classmates were looking back and forth, back and forth as if following the ball. I also thought it was especially funny when Julie found "Mongolia" was just pictures of Bootle angled and set up so it gave the illusion of being a certain way. Finally, the last picture reached my heart with the brothers thanking her for being their good guide. This book is definitely specially because in total it teaches you that if you use your imagination, you can convince yourself its one thing. This can make you mentally stronger.
This story should be read by ages 8-800 because of the subtle humor. Younger kids might understand half of it. Also, the book's importance could be irrelevant to them. They won't be able understand the fear of these people. This book would be 5 stars because it gives perspective mystery, and is thought provoking. I would recommend this to any reading lovers.
Review by Young Mensan Dante P., age 10 Northern New Jersey Mensa
The two boys at first are strange, cold and surly, but for one reason and another, they eventually open up to Julie, and by virtue of that to their teacher and classmates. They introduce Julie and the class to strange folk-tales and superstitions, and this is used to make the story roll along; whether the boys use and know they are using metaphors to tell their tale or whether it is coincidental to what is really going on, well, you'll have to read that to find out. Rather oddly, Polaroid photographs play a very large part in this.
Overall the story is slight, but that's not a criticism, the slightness and novella status rather than it being a full length novel keeps it all bright and breezy and engaging.
There is also a very real parallel to this, but I am sure you would prefer to read that when / if you get this.
Three big scousy cheers to F C B.