The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce - Review

'I would recommend this book to anyone aged between eight and twelve who likes to find out about other children's lives. It is so beautifully written and easy to read'

Julie is like any other year six schoolgirl thinking about clothes, boys and best friends until, in her last term of Primary school, her teacher asks her to be the good guide to two Mongolian brothers who turn up at the school. They are oddly dressed in huge woolly coats which they don't want to take off and Chengis, the older one is very protective of his younger brother Nergui. Chengis has a polaroid camera and he shows Julie a lot of photographs showing scenes from Mongolia. Julie's mother welcomes the boys into her home and Julie would like to pay a return visit but she soon finds out that this is not likely to happen. The whole family lives in fear and thinks that demons are trying to steal Nergui, so Chengis is constantly doing things to try to confuse the demons. One day the boys just disappear and it is not until she returns to the school as a grown up and finds Nergui's coat, still in the lost property cupboard, that she really understands what happened to them and why they behaved in the way they did.

This is a book that really made me think because Chengis, Nergui and their mother are afraid all the time. Chengis took great responsibility for looking after his brother. It was especially interesting for me because my Uncle's wife is Mongolian. I have found out that it is an absolutely enormous country and once it had the biggest Empire that the world has ever known. The characters are very real and the story made me glad that I live in a country where the thing that I am most frightened of is the possibility of a big hairy legged spider that might be lurking under my bed. I was so pleased that the book had a happy ending.
I would recommend this book to any one between eight and twelve who likes to find out about other children's lives. It is so beautifully written that it is easy to read.

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Lottie Longshanks

The GuardianTramp

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