The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce - young critic's review

'This book will linger in your ­memory long after you've finished it'

Julie becomes the "Good Guide" to two Mongolian brothers who ­arrive at her school. They're oddly dressed in huge woolly coats and Chengis is very protective of his younger brother ­Nergui.

They have a Polaroid camera and show Julie ­photographs they say are of Mongolia. ­Julie's mother welcomes them into her home and Julie wants to pay a return visit but soon discovers that this will never happen. The family fears that demons will steal Nergui, so Chengis tries to confuse them. One day the boys disappear and it is not until she returns to school years later and finds Nergui's coat, in the lost property cupboard, that she understands their behaviour.

This book will linger in your ­memory long after you've finished it. It made me think about people who are constantly afraid and it opened my eyes to a vast country that once had the biggest empire the world has ever known.

The characters are amazingly real and the book is full of surprises. I would recommend it to any reader who likes to find out about other children's lives. It is so ­beautifully written – almost like ­poetry in places – that it is very easy to read.

Charlotte Walden, aged 9

The GuardianTramp

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