The Coat by Séverine Vidal & Louis Thomas

Autumn is here, the weather is getting cooler and we need to start wearing warmer coats and wooly jumpers. The Coat tells the poignant, heartwarming story of Elise and the warm, snuggly red coat that she has been wishing for. It combines the themes of inequality, poverty, homelessness and empathising with others less fortunate and includes a wonderful ending that comes in an unexpected way!

The Story: Elise has been waiting for her sister Mia to grow out of her beautiful red coat so that she can wear it. Finally the day comes and Elise wears it to school. But while walking to school Elise sees a homeless mother and her daughter. Elise can’t stop thinking about them and after a sleepless night she makes a big decision.

The weather is bitterly cold ‘Penguin cold’ and as Elise walks through the snow she’s grateful for the red coat that keeps her warm. But after seeing the girl and her mother wearing summer clothes and snuggling under a thin blanket she’s moved by their plight. Her excitement about the coat is replaced by compassion for the family and leads her to realise the difference between wanting something and needing it. 

We love the whimsical illustrations which use colour to portray different moods throughout the story. Bright colours at the beginning make way for muted blues and greys as Elise contemplates the homeless family’s situation and the emotions that it evokes.

The Coat can be used in an Early Years / Key Stage One classroom to introduce children to the concept of homelessness and the problems that it can lead to. It can also stimulate discussions about kindness, poverty and compassion for others less fortunate. 

Age Range: 3 +

Author: Séverine Vidal / Illustrator: Louis Thomas

Thank you to Netgalley for a review copy of this beautiful story published by Flyaway Books.

The Coat has been translated from the French picture book, Le Manteau.

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