Book Review: A New Coat for Anna

Rating: ★★★★☆

Anna and her mother have been waiting for the end of World War II, hoping that their city’s economic situation will improve, but at the end of the war their city is desolate.  They have no resources, and Anna needs a coat for the oncoming winter.  Anna’s mother resourcefully barters some of her remaining valuables for wool, spinning, weaving, and sewing, with wild lingonberries gathered by hand to dye the wool.  Throughout this process the two build relationships with the farmer, spinner, weaver and tailor, and finally invite them all to share a Christmas cake together.

Based on a true story, this book dramatizes all the steps in old-fashioned textile production, somewhat like Pelle’s New Suit but for an older crowd.  Lobel’s illustrations provide a glimpse into post-war Europe, making the story a good supplement to a study in World War II.  Finally, Mother’s quiet persistence in providing for her daughter provides an example of love, courage and ingenuity in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.  This book is well worth reading and is best suited for an early elementary-school audience.

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Publication Information: Ziefert, Harriet. New Coat for Anna, A. Lobel, Anita (Illustrator). Dragonfly. 1986. ISBN: 0394898613.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08, Book Tree,
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Posted on October 4, 2010

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