The Unforgotten Coat

23 Aug

Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of Millions and Cosmic, has created a short novel called The Unforgotten Coat written about two Mongolian brothers who appear in Julie’s playground at school.  Chingis, the older brother declares Julie their “Good Guide” a nomadic tradition of welcoming strangers, and Julie takes her job seriously teaching the boys about football (soccer), British slang, and the schoolyard.

But something is amiss, the boys believe a demon is after the little brother and take every precaution to prevent the demon from finding them.  When Julie finally learns the truth about the brothers, it is too late and all that is left is a coat.  This is a powerful story about how people can affect your life – even in a short time.  There are very few books written with Mongolian characters which allow children to learn more about the cultures of the world that are drastically different from their own.  There are Polaroid pictures sprinkled throughout the story and in the end – there’s an interesting twist that Julie and the reader do not expect.

This is a beautifully written novella about the power of friendship even in the most unlikely of situations.  This could be a great discussion book for middle school students – the story itself is not too long, but there are some interesting themes that children and adults could discuss.

Title: The Unforgotten Coat
Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page Number: 112 pgs.

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