Book Review: Charlie Needs a Cloak

Charlie Needs a Cloak – Tomie dePaola, Simon and Schuster, 1973

You don’t really expect a book explaining how we get clothing from the wool of sheep to be utterly charming. And the text of this book itself is very spare.

So what is it that performs the miracle of turning this basically non-fiction book into a rollickingly fun read for little people?

It’s Tomie dePaola’s illustrations–through humorously expressive characters and clever storyboarding. Adding to the fun are a sub-plot involving a jealous sheep and a sub- sub-plot of an acquisitive mouse.

The playfully masterful artwork tells a story (sometimes several stories) on every page. This book manages to be informative as well as entertaining – no mean feat for a picture book for very young readers.