Top critical review
A Mongolian, his coat, his little brother, his English ‘Good Guide’ and his bizarre Polaroids – a story with a difference
on 13 March 2016
The Unforgotten Coat is an engaging, if slight, story for the 9-12 age group, revolving around Mongolian asylum seekers in Bootle – a quirky angle for a quirky and nicely understated narrative. The Mongolian brothers Chingis and Nergui are a fascinating and enigmatic pair – it’s their book along with Julie O’Connor the year 6 narrator who is designated as their ‘good guide’, a job title she does her honest best to live up to. This is one of those stories in which you learn stuff without being taught.
The presentation of the book in a kind of ruled-paper notebook style with glued-in polaroids is very eye-grabbing. It certainly points to the way in which design in children’s books – even those for older children – is increasingly becoming as important as content, an inevitable by-product of an age in which older, stiller media such as books struggle to compete with the manic sound and vision overload that is the online world. Overall, a simple but effective story with a touching conclusion (both in words and photograph).