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The Unforgotten Coat

The Unforgotten Coat

Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Narrated by Sarah Coomes


The Unforgotten Coat

Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Narrated by Sarah Coomes

ratings:
4/5 (13 ratings)
Length:
1 hour
Released:
Sep 13, 2011
ISBN:
9781455822287
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Can classmate Julie protect the brothers from vanishing? With warmth and humor, Carnegie Medalist Frank Cottrell Boyce transports readers from the steppe of Mongolia to the streets of Liverpool in an immigration tale that is compelling, miraculous, and often laugh-out-loud funny.
Released:
Sep 13, 2011
ISBN:
9781455822287
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Frank Cottrell Boyce is the author of Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth, The Astounding Broccoli Boy, Cosmic, Framed, and Millions, the last of which was a New York Times bestseller and was made into a movie by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. His books have won or been nominated for numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. Frank is also a screenwriter, having penned the scripts for a number of feature films as well as the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. He lives in Liverpool with his family.

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Reviews

What people think about The Unforgotten Coat

3.8
13 ratings / 14 Reviews
What did you think?
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    I guess SOMEBODY could come up with a reason that this book isn't perfect...but I sure can't. Loved it. So so so much.

    If you can, check out the audio book from your library...it's only 1 hour 40 minutes long and the narrator has this fantastic Liverpool accent and reads the story so well and memorably.

    Frank Cottrell Boyce, you now have my full attention.
  • (5/5)
    This book really is amazing! Imagine: a strange boy comes into a middle school classroom, with his little brother, who refuses to speak and will not take off his large, fuzzy hat, and proceeds rule the roost. Told in a series of flashbacks, centered around beautiful, quasi-poloroid illustrations, this is an absolutely unique collaboration of artist and author, and a great story!

    Note: I read a review which said that this was an inaccurate depiction of Mongolian culture. I am sure that it is, but that is part of the point of the book. The main character is very young, and displaced. His culture is what he invents -- and he has amazing verve and imagination.

    I also loved that the book is based on a true story, and that the author tells you exactly how much of the story is real. That makes the book: 1. very poignant, and 2. an amazing paean to the power of the imagination.

    In sum: This book is awesome! Read it, you won't regret it!
  • (4/5)
    Charming story about two Mongolian boys who transfer to a school in Liverpool and are embraced by their classmates.
  • (3/5)
    This book was about Mongolia, so you think I would have been devouring it and giving it 5 stars. I liked it better than the other book I brought with me on vacation, but I wasn't blown away by it.
  • (5/5)
    This is an unusual story from Frank Cottrell Boyce. I love his work, even though I'm not always sure kids enjoy them as much as adults. As a librarian, I often recommend the audio versions for family road trips. But this one really resonated with me, especially after reading the afterward. I think it's an important story to tell and maybe it will impact some children as well. I loved the book's layout, but I also loved the audio version as well--his books always have great readers.
  • (4/5)
    I have read Frank Cottrell Boyce's other three books and I think he's a terrific author. This book is an interesting switch for him. Julie lives a normal existence, thinking mostly about the boy she likes and getting to play with her friend's makeup, until a new boy arrives at school with his brother. They are from Mongolia, and are quite different than anyone she has ever known. They assign her the role of Good Guide, which she willingly takes on. She learns interesting things about Mongolia and hopes to be invited to their home. But she also learns that they are frightened, and doesn't understand why until after they have suddenly disappeared, taken by immigration authorities to be returned to their homeland. The boys are really intriguing characters, and Cottrell Boyce succeeds in demonstrating how people from other cultures can enrich a community.
  • (3/5)
    It's a short little book and kids will dig the format and the photos. It's an important story and one that's obviously dear to Mr. Boyce's heart, but for me I didn't really connect with any of the characters. I don't know if that's a cultural thing (by which I mean the story's set in England) or if maybe the photos and notebook paper distracted from the story...
  • (4/5)
    I was unsure of this book because it seemed so different from his others, but in the end I quite enjoyed it. I suspect it will stay with me for some time. It would make a great read-aloud in an upper elementary or middle school classroom.
  • (4/5)
    As posted on Outside of a Dog:Is there any bigger trope in the fictional canon than 'the year/summer/semester that changed my life'? It covers a variety of story possibilities and pops up everywhere you look. Adults are certainly not immune, but I do think it occurs more often in children’s and young adult literature, probably because these times that change our lives tend to happen when we’re young. It may be a cliché, but when handled correctly, it can be the perfect beginning for a lovely story.“…doesn’t everyone remember everything about their last summer in elementary school?” our narrator Julie asks at the beginning of Frank Cottrell Boyce’s The Unforgotten Coat. The summer in question is changed for Julie by the arrival of two brothers to her school, Chingis and Nergui, from Mongolia. Chingis is in her class and quickly adopts Julie to be his “Good Guide”, a role that Julie takes seriously. The brothers, you see, are being chased by a demon, one that wants to make Nergui disappear. As good guide, Julie teaches the brothers about the playground and about football, learns all she can about Mongolia, and tries desperately to get herself invited over, to no avail. The boys in turn give Julie a new kind of meaning and purpose. This slim novel culminates in a skipping-school-off –the-road-trip where Julie learns a little more about the brothers and ends up learning the truth behind the demon and from what they were really running. Thanks to time, technology and a little growing up, our story has a happy ending, but one that is gained through a great price.If I were to pair this novel with another 2011 release, I’d put it with National Book Award winner, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. Together they give two different experiences of immigration, but both have a sense of longing for place and time. For Boyce, the longing comes from Julie, who wants to know about the brothers’ home in Mongolia, and secretly dreams of becoming a Mongolian princess. There is also a feeling of nostalgia produced as the adult Julie tells her story of the end of her primary school days. Boyce captures that feeling perfectly, and doesn’t beat you over the head with it. The characters are all drawn with fine strokes, giving nuance even to the teacher, Mrs. Spendlove. Polaroid photographs are scattered throughout the text, and give poignancy to the story. The image of the title coat is especially memorable. This is the first of Boyce’s novels for young people I’ve read, but I’m a big fan of screenwriting career. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story and Millions are among my favorites (why I’ve never picked up Millions the novel is beyond me. Chalk it up to ‘too little time’). I know now I’ll have to pay more attention to his prose. What he accomplishes in only 93 pages with The Unforgotten Coat is remarkable. It’s a quick read, but one more than worth your time. Note: The afterword is nearly as interesting as the story itself, detailing how Boyce got the idea for The Unforgotten Coat on a school visit. Be sure not to miss it.
  • (3/5)
    Julie becomes the "Good Guide" to two Mongolian brothers who suddenly show up in her sixth year class in Bootle, England. Tasked by Chingis, the eldest brother, to acclimate them to English culture, and more importantly schoolyard football, Julie gradually learns the truth behind their erractic behaviour and fear of "vanishing". A slim novel that explores the impact a single student can have on his entire class as well as a personal look at the effects of immigration law.
  • (4/5)
    Sixth-grader Julie is mostly interested in getting her crush's attention and finding a way to get her popular friend to invite Julie over to her house after school, until the day she meets Chingis and Nergui. Charismatic Chingis, who is able to talk Julie's teacher into allowing his younger brother to stay in their classroom instead of being sent to a lower grade, appoints Julie as the brothers' 'good guide.' Julie takes her new role seriously, spending free time with Chingis and Nergui and doing a report on Mongolia which she shares with the class. She tries to extend their friendship beyond the classroom, hoping to see where the boys live, but when she finally achieves this goal, she gets an unexpected glimpse into the fear that Chingis and his family live with from day to day. When the family is abruptly deported, Julie is left with questions that haunt her well into adulthood.This is an interesting book, almost surreal in places (this effect is amplified by the Polaroid-style illustrations sprinkled throughout), but also grimly realistic in its portrayal of a family caught in a difficult situation. In the Author's Note at the end, Boyce mentions that the story was inspired by real-life events. Though this is a quick read, I think it will appeal more to adults than to children.
  • (2/5)
    Narrated by Sarah Coomes. Stick with the print version. There are photos and illustrations that the audio doesn't refer to and so the print experience is richer.

    Julie is intrigued by two new boys in her school, brothers from Mongolia. Genghis announces that a demon is chasing his little brother and they are trying to throw the demon off track. As their designated “good guide,” Julie feels compelled to help protect the boys.
  • (4/5)
    I did like this story for a few reasons. The first reason I liked this story was because I thought that the writing flowed at a steady pace. The story was constantly leading to a major event that I personally did not see coming. The climax of the story was completely unexpected, and added a lot of surprise to the story. Another thing that I liked about the story was that the language was very clear. The language was easy for the readers to understand, and this helped the story to flow well. Another aspect that helped the story to flow well was the suspenseful plot. Throughout the story the two boys were talking about a demon, and this was odd. I constantly wondered what they meant by a demon, because I did not know if the boys thought a spiritual demon was following them or something else. This was able to add a lot of suspense to the story. I was always wondering what would happen next with the boys, and if their “demon” was ever going to catch up with them. Then when readers found out what the actual demon was it was a very big surprise. This really helped engage me into the story, because I really didn’t know what was going to happen to the boys after they were deported. Another reason that I liked the story was because I thought that the reader pushed the readers to think about a different perspective. Readers had to think about what it would be like to start over in a new country, and how difficult that might be. Readers will also have to think about how scared the boys must have been, and what it would have been like to always wonder if today was they day they were going to be deported. Readers are then forced to think about what it would be like to just be deported one day from your home, and forced to go to a place you did not want to go. I know I have never been in this situation, so I found this a difficult thing to think about. The story is able to broaden readers’ perspectives about immigration, and the difficulties that go along with immigrating. A last thing I liked about the story was the illustrations that were placed throughout the story. Often in the story Polaroid pictures are described, and often in the story the pictures are also shown. I found this to be extremely helpful when understanding the story. The visuals helped the reader to understand what was being described, and this was able to really enhance the story. The illustrations were also able to break up the text, and engage the reader in the story by being able to visualize the story. I believe the overall big message of the story is that you cannot always run away from your problems. The boys were constantly trying to run away, but eventually their demon did catch up with them. It was a bitter end to the story, but it teaches readers that sometimes problems have to be overcome in difficult ways.
  • (3/5)
    Treading water in her last term of elementary school, Julie figures she’s learned all there is to learn, when two Mongolian brothers in fur-lined coats (it’s summer) arrive: Chingis and Nergui.Chingis explains to their teacher that little Nergui’s hat must stay on, like a hunting eagle’s hood. Such casual references to wonders far from their Liverpool suburb, documented in the text with eerie Polaroid snapshots, enthrall the children, especially Julie. She’s elated when Chingis appoints her the brothers’ “good guide.” Despite her title, Julie can’t discover where they live; street-smart Chingis foils her attempts to follow them, taking a different route each day. Thwarted curiosity prompts her to research Mongolia online, succumbing to the mystery and fascination of far-off places and people. As her persistence pays off, she awakens to the fear the brothers carry. Reminds me of Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.