Book Review: Pelle’s New Suit

Rating: ★★★★☆

Pelle, a young Swedish boy, has a lamb which he cares for himself.  When he begins to outgrow his coat, he shears the lamb and seeks help from his family and community to card, spin, weave, dye, and sew the wool into a suit, trading chores for the help that others give him.  Finally he puts on his new suit and thanks the lamb for the wool, while all the people who have participated in the project look on.

The illustrations in this story are charming, and the story is delightful on many levels.  In contrast with the modern stereotype of childhood as a season of entertainment and consumption, Pelle not only demonstrates responsibility in caring for his lamb, but also contributes to the priorities and needs of others as they care for him. The story also gives a picture of how clothing and fabrics were laboriously crafted before the advent of industrial mass-production, and the cooperative nature of the project emphasizes  a value for community.  All these elements combine to create a book which is comforting, enjoyable and educational.

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Publication Information: Beskow, Elsa. Pelle's New Suit. Woodburn, Marion Letcher (Translator). Harper. 1912. ISBN: 0863150926.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 00-04, Books Children Love,
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Posted on August 15, 2009

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