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My Grandfather's Coat
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My Grandfather's Coat

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  638 ratings  ·  159 reviews
A rollicking, rhyming, fun rendition of a favorite folksong about a many-times recycled coat--by the award-winning, bestselling team of Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock.

When my grandfather came to America
he made himself a handsome coat!
Then he wore it and he wore it and he wore it--
until it was all worn out!
So what did he do?

He snipped and he clipped--
and he stitched
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Scholastic Press
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Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My Grandfather's Coat is a beautiful story based on the Yiddish folksong,"I Had a Little Overcoat."

The story starts with a Grandfather coming to America and getting his start. He then makes himself a coat. "How many wonderful things can Grandfather make out of that old coat?" Read along in the story to find out!

It's such a heartwarming story with beautiful illustrations. Children will love it.

I especially loved the author's and artist's note in the back which tells their own stories.

Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
When a man comes to America with little to his name, he takes up being a tailor. To celebrate his new life, the man makes himself a coat, which he wears for as long as he can until it comes apart. From there, the coat becomes a jacket, a vest, a tie, and eventually a pet's toy. While it has seen a long life and been highly useful, there is no need to mourn its loss when the last of the threads come apart, for this coat has helped shape the lives of numerous people in its long history. Neo was qu ...more
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Based on a Yiddish folksong, this picture book celebrates the thrift, hard work and skills of immigrants to the United States. Told in the first person by the grandchild, this book looks at one man who came to the US and worked hard as a tailor. He met a woman and they got married and he made his own coat for the wedding. He wore it everywhere until finally, it was worn it. So then what did he do? He made it into a jacket. He wore that everywhere and eventually wore it out too. So then he made i ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sweet story, love the message of thriftiness and hard work and love. McClintock illustrations are always beautiful, but watching the growing up going on behind the story in the illustrations that were happening made it a whole other story in and of itself which made it that much better.
This is a sweet folktale about a man who comes to America and makes himself a coat. It's a story that has teaching moments for so many topics.
Lessons on immigrants coming to America and making a good, solid life for themselves.
Lessons on repurposing and upcycling.
Lessons on not hoarding things but, instead, using them with love...essentially loving them to death.
Lessons on how not to be sad when material possessions are gone.
Lessons on family and storytelling and chain of events.

The illustration
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This beautiful picture book retells the story found in an old Yiddish folk song, I Had a Little Overcoat." The sweet story focuses on an immigrant who uses material to make a coat. As the years pass and generations are born, the coat becomes a suit coat, a vest, a tie, and many more necessary items.

There is a rhythm to this story that will make it an excellent read aloud. The lovely watercolor illustrations will catch the eyes of young readers and tell as much of the story as the lyrical text.
Kristine Hansen
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Based on the Yiddish folksong of "I Had a Little Overcoat" this re-telling puts the story squarely in America and teaches a lot about what it's like to come to a new country and have very little - and then to build a dream. I loved the way the pictures reflected the changing of the times - in clothing, hairstyles, and the world around our characters. They age and still carry on with a story to continue though the generations - which indeed is the point of the song. I think this is my favorite pi ...more
Alexa Marshall
1) This past week we have been in a unit on migrating to the United States, and how that is not always a very easy thing to do. We learned that often, immigrants are not able to bring every item that they want to bring, and some are only able to bring the clothes upon their backs. The book that we are reading is "My Grandfather's Coat", retold by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. While you're reading, I want you to think about one special item that you would bring if you were ...more
Caurie Kuzelka
(aimed at kindergarteners)
1. "I thought that since we are learning about how to put on and zip our winter coats that we would read this book today about a man and his very favorite coat. It's called My Grandfather's Coat, so we know the main character of the book is going to be somebody's Grandfather, or Grandpa. Let's dive in to the story and see what we can find out about this mans coat.
2. I used 'draw attention to children's previous knowledge', 'prompt predictions based on the title' and 'in
Caleb R
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
1. My Grandfathers Coat Jim Aylesworth
Opening move 1: Foreshadow the problem of the story: I would ask the children “sometimes your favorite things get old and start to break, do you have anything that you really liked that broke?” I would let the kids name some things and then say, “Well this man had a creative way to fix his coat when it started to get old”
Opening move 2: Alert listeners to important passage of time: I would notify the children to watch the pictures of the man in the story and
Riley Thomas

I can relate this book to the "reduce, reuse, recycle" idea that is spreading throughout the world. In the book, the grandfather never lets his coat go to waste. He keeps using, and when it wears out, he recycled by making the cloth into something else until every last bit was used. This fits in perfectly with reusing and recycling all things in life. I remember my grandparents telling me about hard times they went through and how they reused EVERYTHING (they even saved, and reused
Dani Kraft
My Grandfather’s Coat:
Text to Text

This book reminds me of another book called The Giving Tree. It also makes me sad because I feel like in the end the grandpa died just like the tree does. Throughout this story the grandfather has a coat that he made. Each time that it breaks he makes it into something else more useful. Eventually it goes to how he made it into a toy for “You”. The grandfather gave everything he had to his grandchild. Just like the tree does in the giving tree to the little boy
Text to Text: a connection in the story to another book that you have read.

I love history books and this book reminds me of the book Dreams in the golden country by Kathryn Lasky. That book also has a young Jewish immigrant coming to America. Both characters (Zipporah and the Grandfather character) are creative and frugal in their possessions yet they are both generous. The experience of being in a new place and having to work much harder than everyone else is shared by both of them.
Marci Breaux
A great story enforcing my grandparents teaching of "waste not, want not". I loved this little story and the illustrations.
Amy Porter
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
This book is great picture book for young children. The book describes the cycle of a piece of cloth that grandfather had been made into a coat, a smart jacket, a vest, a tie, a toy when finally it could made into nothing else. The illustrations show each step grandfather took to make these things. They are simple yet very intertaining for the reader to view. This book is fun and easy for young children to read. It shows the many different things a tailor can make out of cloth.(non-fiction pictu ...more
With its roots in a Yiddish folk song, this lively immigration story tells about how the narrator's grandfather, a talented tailor, sewed himself a coat for his wedding day. Eventually he wears the coat out, and he fashions it into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and a toy. I love the ending and how the text uses some of the same words as the garment is reduced each time as well as the recycling theme that runs through the story. Showing how the family members age over time, the illustrations, created ...more
Jordan Molczyk
Text to text connection: Tell how this remind you of another book you have read. How are two books similar or different.

In "My Grandfather's Coat" the grandfather's makes a coat. It keeps getting so tattered that Grandfather must make something smaller. First he sews a jacket then a vest, a tie, and finally a toy. The toy gets tattered and a mother mouse takes it for her nest. soon there is nothing left. All his time, Grandfather doesn't get mad or frustrated, he just uses his imagination and cr
Dec 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: coat and jewish folklore requests
Recommended to June by:
I am going to have to let this sit for a while, because I like Joseph Had a Little Overcoat so much.

I sort of liked the repetitions, but I didn't like the ending as much.

Someone pointed out the nice inter-generational aspect. So maybe a 3.5, but I still think Taback's book will be more popular with the cut-outs, and I like the ending better.
A lively retelling of the Yiddish folksong "I Had a Little Overcoat." The text has a flowing rhythm that makes this ideal for reading aloud. Young readers will appreciate the illustrations that show the passing of time for four generations. A lovely celebration of family and culture!
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nothing is ever wasted. Sentimental retelling of a traditional story that just might have you sniffling; just a little.
Practically perfect in every way - truly.
Sara Collins
Non-fiction Book #1
My Grandfather’s Coat
Jim Aylesworth

“Today we are going to start exploring a new genre with this book, My Grandfather’s Coat. (show cover of book and illustrations from inside the book) Based on the illustrations, what do you think the genre might be? (children respond) Listen to what the author says: ‘My grandfather loved the jacket, and he wore it, and he wore it. And little bit by little bit, he frayed it and he tore it, until at last...he wore it out!’ You will hear
Ashley Smith
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
My Grandfather’s Coat
By: Jim Aylesworth

(Flip to the page with the Statue of liberty in the background) Does anyone know what this is? Do you know where this is located? (Wait for response) That is correct! The statue of liberty is in New York. This book follows the journey of an immigrant coming to America. My great grandpa Rerucha made the same journey to America all the way from Czechoslovakia. This was how many immigrants traveled to America. Now, let’s look at the title of this book, My Gran
Children's Literature Centre at FSU
Aylesworth uses his writing to create a predictable text for children to read. The writing explains tradition and recycling, and importance of a story. Aylesworth wrote repetitive text so children can enjoy following along and reading from memory on their own. The text was easy to read and painted a beautiful picture of the cloth that was repurposed and passed down.
McClintock's simplistic illustrations make it easier for young readers to visualize what Aylesworth was writing. McClintock's illus
Amy Layton
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
This book is so sweet on so many levels.  I love hearing about people's most well-loved items, I love seeing books with dog ears and broken spines, I love seeing where sewing kits have done their jobs.  And, I love stories.  My Grandfather's Coat combines all of those things.  With Aylesworth's story and McClintock's illustrations, this is the perfect book for a child.  Thanks to the illustrations, the story reads as though it's your own well-loved memory.  

This is definitely a picture book you
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
This is a charming, tender tale about relationships with people and things. I love the way the illustrator portrays the progression of time. It is a fun circular tale. I would tie this in with our historical fiction unit and pair it with Castle on Hester St. The repetitive text is great with the predictions the children make. Just don't show the back cover or you will loose the point before you get there. I loved this book.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful in every way - tells a lovely story about the narrator’s grandfather, an immigrant to America and a coat he makes and then remakes into new things as each one wears out. Meanwhile, in the illustrations, time is passing and the life events of three generations are shown in beautiful detail. A sweet story about the sentimental treasures we carry through life and the love that they remind us of.
Sara Easterly
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Jewish folktale about love and adaptation, lovingly telling various family portraits through an immigrant’s coat that is passed down, and transformed, through the generations.

Reviewed as part of a roundup of fabulous books about immigrants and refugees at
Myka Shetler
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit-18
Genre: Historical Fiction
Grade Level: K-3
This is a cute story of being resourceful. It teaches children of how you can reuse anything if you have an imagination. Nothing goes wasted. I would recommend this book to a teacher, especially when they are teaching about being smart and reusing things.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Admittedly, I'm a bit emotional right now, but this is a beautiful story. The story ties four generations together with one coat made by a man who came to America. It's just lovely.
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Jim Aylesworth was born in Jacksonville, Florida but as an infant moved from the state. He lived in many places during his childhood: Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas... but by the time Aylesworth was 15 his family had settled in Hinsdale, Illinois and that is where he graduated from high school in 1961.

In 1965, he graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in English.