Author: Simms Taback
Illustrator: Simms Taback
Publisher and Year: Penguin Group, 1999
Number of Pages: 32
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is about Joseph who had a very worn over coat so he turned it into a jacket. Once the jacket was worn he turned it into a vest and so on and so forth. At the very end he has nothing so he writes a book about his overcoat. The moral of this story is that “you can always make something out of nothing.”(Taback, page 30)
This text would function as a door for readers. Joseph never gave up on his overcoat and made the best out of it as he could. He never complained about not having a nice overcoat and just made it into something else he could use like a jacket or vest and even a button. This shows that you can do a lot with a nothing, which is something a reader can apply to his or her own life. This book can also function as a mirror. Not having a lot is something that a lot of people experience in their life. Whether it is with food, money or clothes people have to work with what they have. A reader who has experienced something like this would be able to relate to Joseph and his story. On the other hand for a reader who has never experienced not having enough, this text would function as a window. These readers get the chance to see how difficult it can be to live off of so little. For readers who view this story as a window still have the opportunity to learn from the moral, that you can always make something out of nothing. At first glance this story lacks cultural diversity. But when the reader looks closer into the background it is seen that there is actual pictures of people who come from different cultures. Although different cultures are in the story I wish it was more prominent and that the reader didn’t have to search to see some diversity.
The images are very different than a lot of other children’s books. Some of the images look like they have been painted while there are also actual pictures of real people and food within most of the pages. There are very few words on the page, which allows the pictures to tell most of the story. There are so many small things in each image that draws the reader to look closer. The images may be a little strange but it works for the story. I really enjoyed this book and the images in it a lot. It had a good moral and the pictures keep the reader’s attention with all the detail.