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The Olden Days Coat by Margaret Laurence
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The Olden Days Coat

by Margaret Laurence

Other authors: Muriel Wood (Illustrator)

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574310,155 (3.97)7

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Ten-year-old Sal is sad to be spending Christmas at her grandmother's house instead of in her own home. Sal's grandparents always came to Sal's house for Christmas. Things are different now that Sal's grandfather has died. Sal has no friends her age at grandma's house, so she plays on her own in the shed behind the house. She finds some pictures in an old trunk. She thinks they might be pictures of her grandmother when she was younger. Farther down, she finds an old blue coat, just about her size. She puts it on and then something very strange happens. She seems to have traveled back in time. She meets and befriends Sarah, a girl her age. Is it possible that Sarah is someone she knows?

This is a beautiful story of the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Like Sal, children may be prompted to think of their grandparents as having once been as young as their grandchildren are now. Perhaps reading the story together may lead to an opportunity for grandparents to share their own memories and childhood photos. ( )
  cbl_tn | Dec 30, 2017 |
A nice simple Christmas story - apt for the season that lacks subtlety and nuance. Not worth getting if you can't get the newer edition with the lovely illustrations by Muriel Wood, probably. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Celebrated Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence turned to children's fiction in this short story about a young girl and her Christmas time-slip experience, presented here in picture-book form. Although she loves her Gran, ten-year-old Sal resents having to spend the Christmas holidays at her house in the country. Why can't her grandmother come to Sal's house in the city, as she used to do before Grandad died? What will Sal do, so far away from all of her friends? Wandering out to the shed behind Gran's house, Sal passes the time by looking through some old photo albums she finds there. Coming across an old-fashioned blue coat, she puts it on, and finds herself in the past. Here she meets Sarah, a young girl her own age who gives her a snowy sleigh ride, and shows her the beautiful Christmas present she has just been given. Returning to the present, Sal wonders about the purpose of her temporal journey, until she opens her Gran's Christmas present...

Chosen as one of our December selections over in The Picture-Book Club to which I belong, where our theme this month is "Warm Quilts and Soft Mittens," The Olden Days Coat is less of a picture-book than an illustrated work of short fiction. It is an engaging story, one whose appeal is in no way harmed by the obvious solution to the question of Sarah's identity, and the purpose of Sal's trip back in time. I enjoyed the artwork by Muriel Wood - full-page color illustrations are paired with pages of text - particularly some of the snowy scenes in the sleigh (or more properly, the "cutter"), but then, I have a weakness for wintry vistas. Apparently this story was made into a short film back in 1981, starring Megan Follows (of Anne of Green Gables fame). I think I will try to track it down, and see how it stacks up. All in all, The Olden Days Coat is a solidly engaging Christmas story, one I would recommend to older picture-book/younger chapter-book readers who enjoy family stories and time-slip tales. ( )
2 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 18, 2013 |
Loved it as a child and love it as an adult. ( )
  saskreader | Dec 11, 2005 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Laurenceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wood, MurielIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0887767044, Paperback)

Truly a classic by one of Canada’s finest authors

Ten-year-old Sal is disappointed when she and her parents spend Christmas at her grandmother’s house, instead of at home, like they did before Grandpa died. In order to pass the time, Sal explores the contents of an old trunk. Searching through the old photographs she comes across a little girl’s winter coat, tries it on, and finds herself transported into the past where she makes an unexpected connection to her heritage and her grandmother.

This model tale of time travel was one of Margaret Laurence’s few forays into children’s literature and has remained a favourite of children of all ages. New art by the original illustrator makes this a beautiful book for Christmas and for all seasons. A special treat for Margaret Laurence fans.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sal has come to spend Christmas with her grandmother and while exploring an old trunk in the attic, Sal is transported back into the old woman's childhood.

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Tundra Books

An edition of this book was published by Tundra Books.

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