Stunning New Coat for Anna

A New Coat for Anna

I discovered this wonderful book at our local library and immediately fell in love with it. First, I have a daughter named Anna and then I recall so many wonderful stories that my mother shared with me, coming out of World War II. Anna's stunning new coat reminds me of my own mother's sacrificial love for me so many times. Many thanks to Harriet Ziefert for writing such a beautiful, heart-warming book of excellent quality for all to read. I loved this book. How about you?

The book A New Coat for Anna, written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Anita Lobel, takes place right after World War II and tells the story of young Anna, who has outgrown her old winter coat. As a result of the war, money, food, and other goods, including clothes, are still very scarce and Anna’s mother does not have enough money to buy her a new coat:
Last winter Anna’s mother had said, “When the war is over, we will be able to buy things again and I will get you a nice new coat.” But when the war ended the stores remained empty. There still were no coats. There was hardly any food. And no one had any money.
Anna’s mother must make choices about what she will buy and decides to exchange the few valuable items she has left for the services of a farmer, a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor to make Anna a new coat.
“Anna, I have no money,” she said, “but I still have Grandfather’s gold watch and some other nice things. Maybe we can use them to get what we need for a new coat.”
The story takes readers through all the steps involved in the production of Anna’s new coat. First, Anna and her mother go to the farmer and offer to trade grandfather’s gold watch for enough wool to make the coat. When spring comes, the farmer shears his sheep and gives Anna’s mother a big bag of wool. Anna and her mother then take the wool to the spinner and offer to give her a beautiful lamp if she will spin the wool into yarn. After receiving the yarn, Anna decides that she would like her coat to be red, so she and her mother pick lingonberries and dye the yarn red. Then they take the red yarn to the weaver and ask her to weave it into cloth in exchange for a garnet necklace. Two weeks later, Anna and her mother take the cloth to the tailor, who measures Anna and makes her coat in exchange for a porcelain teapot.
At the end of the story, Anna proudly wears her new red coat home and shows her appreciation for everyone who helped make her coat by telling her mother that she would like to invite the farmer, the spinner, the weaver, and the tailor to come to their Christmas celebration.

Product Details

Lobel, Anita
Lobel, Anita
Ziefert, Harriet
Dragonfly Books
New York
Clothing and dress
Children's fiction
Children's 4-8 - Picturebooks
Historical - Military & Wars
Family - Parents
Series Volume:
v. 7
Publication Date:
May 1988
, Yes
9.95x7.86x.17 in. .33 lbs.
Children's Book Type:
Picture / Wordless
Age Level:
 Editorial Review - Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.

Beskow's classic Pelle's New Suit told the story of outgrown clothing replaced by bartering labor for wool, spinning, weaving, and sewing; now Ziefert sets it in postwar Europe, where Anna's mother trades cherished possessions--a gold watch, a garnet necklace--to acquire the much-needed garment. The war is over, but shops are still empty, even of food, and no one has money. This coat is a year in
the making: the wool must grow all winter while Anna shivers in her old coat, the lingonberries for the dye must ripen all summer. When the new red coat is ready at last, Anna, like Pelle, shows it off to everyone who helped make it, and on Christmas Day she returns to thank the sheep. With its boarded-up windows and winter landscapes, this is more sober than most of Lobel's work, although her flair for decorative repetition appears in subtle ways: in the herd of sheep, the hanks of yam, scenes repeated in a mirror. Pictured details, such as the shabby, cozy garret home crowded with surviving treasures and family pictures, add substantial information to the text. A warmly satisfying variation on a familiar story.

Teacher Guide

About This Book

Here is a priceless story of a mother's devotion to her daughter during the poverty and heartbreak following World War II. Anna needs a new winter coat, but her mother can not afford to buy her one, and all the local stores are empty after the war. The Mother decides to trade her few possessions to buy the wool and pay for the work of a spinner, weaver, and tailor to make Anna's coat. When the bright red coat is completed, Anna invites all the craftspeople who made it to celebrate with her.
Youngsters ages four to eight will be touched by the mother's love and sacrifice for her only daughter. A good topic to ask during a classroom discussion might be — "In what other ways do parents make sacrifices for their children?"

A New Coat for Anna

A New Coat for Anna and is a piece of realistic fiction. It is based on a true story told to the author by a friend. It takes place in a small European town just after World War II. It illustrates that sometimes your don't need money to get what you need and that it can take imagination for figure out how to get those things. It is the heartwarming story of a mother and her young daughter's ingenuity in bartering creatively.
Young Anna, the daughter needed a new coat for the next winter but she and her mother had no money or materials for the coat. So Anna's mother had the idea to trade their few possessions to get the coat made step by step. She gave a farmer something in exchange for the wool he would shear from his sheep in the spring. Come spring, she took the wool to a spinner and offered her a beautiful lamp if she would spin it into yarn. The spinner did the work when the cherries were ripe in the summer. Anna and her mother picked ripe lingonberries in the summer for the dye for the yarn. Then the mother took the newly red yarn to the weaver and offered him a garnet necklace so he would weave the yarn into a bolt of cloth. As summer turned to fall, the cloth was finished and the mother took the bolt to the tailor and exchanged a lovely teapot for his services in sewing the coat. By winter, Anna proudly wore her new red coat home, stopping to admire her reflection in every story window. She and her mother thanked all who had been a part of making the coat with a Christmas Eve party. It took a year around, some hard work, and some clever bartering, but Anna and her mother got what they needed without spending a bit of money.

 Key Concepts:

Sometimes other people find the things that you have are more valuable than money. Money is not always necessary for obtaining one's needs.

 First Sentence:
Winter had come and Anna needed a new coat.

A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books)

This is my favorite review of this wonderful children's book:
As the post-war child of a family that suffered through World War II in the Netherlands, I can say that "A New Coat for Anna" has the ring of authenticity. In many ways, it reminds me of first-hand stories I heard from my parents and older siblings about the hardships--and the creativity--of ordinary people during those very difficult years.
This well-written story takes the reader through a year in Anna's life, as her mother arranges to have a new coat made by bartering with her neighbors. She trades jewelry for wool, and then a lamp to have it spun. Anna and her mother pick lingonberries together, which they use to dye the yarn red. The bartering continues as the yarn is woven and then tailored into a coat.
The story concludes with a Christmas celebration, "the best they had in a long time," where Anna invites the farmer, the spinner, the weaver, and the tailor to enjoy a Christmas cake together. Anna also takes the time to thank the sheep on Christmas Day.
Even the candles on the tree in Anita Lobel's cozy illustration remind me of the Christmas trees of my childhood. Whenever I share this inspiring tale with children, I wax nostalgic and tell about the candles on our trees.

"A New Coat for Anna" drives home the harsh realities of war and its impact on the daily lives of children... and their neighbors. But it's done in a heartwarming way. Highly recommended.
And I echo what so many other's are saying... I highly recommend this one, too!

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