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Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Last updated Monday, December 12, 2016

Author: Simms Taback
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 0670878553
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2016

Synopsis: Joseph had a little overcoat, but it was full of holes—just like this book! When Joseph's coat got too old and shabby, he made it into a jacket. But what did he make it into after that? And after that? As children turn the pages of this book, they can use the die-cut holes to guess what Joseph will be making next from his amazing overcoat, while they laugh at the bold, cheerful artwork and learn that you can always make something, even out of nothing.

Note to readers:
•  Make sure to point out or have the kids find the piece of clothing on each page.
•  Point out the emotions of Joseph as the book progresses.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have a favorite piece of clothing?
•  Do you have clothes from other family members?
•  Do you know anyone who can make clothes?


•  chorus - a large group of singers.
•  handkerchief - a cloth napkin.
•  suspenders - straps used to hold up your pants. Do you know anyone who wears suspenders? (Santa)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What did you like about the book?
•  The book shows that you can make something positive out of a negative. What did Joseph do to be positive?
•  What was your favorite piece of clothing Joseph made?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a picture with a piece of clothing. Cut out a piece of cloth fabric (or paper with a design) into a coat, etc. then attach it to a piece of paper and draw yourself or another person on your picture.
•  Make an ornament from paper with string or ribbon.
•  See ideas or examples on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/december-2016-winter-and-the-spirit-of-giving/

Special activities:
•  Try to sing the song at the end of the book with the kids.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!