The Bird Coat

Enchanted Lion. Oct. 2022. 52p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781592703661.
Gr 1-4–A book about death for young children, without the usual solemnity of the topic. Pierre, a successful French tailor, has a dream of flying. He longs to be a human bird and, using all his skills, sews himself a bird coat. On a beautiful Parisian morning, after a good breakfast of croissants, he climbs to the top of the Eiffel Tower and leaps into the air. His friends watch as he plunges to the earth. His dearest friend, the barber next door to his shop, recounts the story to a young customer who asks why no one stopped him from such a foolish action. The barber has no answer. But the tailor’s portrait hangs in the barbershop. Cartoonlike illustrations bring lightness to this story of death, life, and dreams, and of the grief beyond which life must go on. Based on an actual 1912 incident, this is a work about death, but without pathos or pity. In an afterword, the author explains her desire to write about this difficult topic for children (and adults) without darkness, but to show that it is part of life. Recommended for use when teaching or explaining death to young children.
VERDICT For its very unique take on the subject of death and carrying on despite it, this is a beautiful addition to the shelves on grief and coping with loss. Recommended.

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