This is probably the most perfect book for a season of gift giving because it's about a present - a coat - and what happens to it as the child grows and the garment is remodeled.
I remember Christmas times when we did remodel things for presents; dresses made from an older sister's, yarn unraveled and cleaned to knit a new sweaters. One year I made suits for my boys with some handed down from their uncle."Just My Size" tells about the beautiful blue coat worn until it was too small and then cut down and made into a jacket. After the jacket, a vest was made, "I think I liked the vest best. Even more than the jacket. Even more than the coat." And in time, that, too, was outgrown.
A knapsack was made from the vest and with remnants a tiny coat and sleeping bag for the doll was made. So the coat is used and used again. Each piece is special and put to uses that really please the wearer. What fun to see the red lining also included in trim, hat and fringe!
The text is simple, as is the story. The cyclic notion of something of value resulting in something more of value is a neat twist and a precious notion to tell children, especially those who have never worn the "hand-me-knows" or made-overs. Those who have will realize that what they do regularly in the repeated use of clothing, is something worth writing about.
William Pene du Bois' watercolors are crisp and focused. There's no clutter here or detail that needs studying. The child and her coat are the center and he never lets the reader see otherwise.
I was a bit concerned that there wasn't much change in the size of the child through the evolution of the coat's use which, I think shouldhave been at least two years. But the joyous resolution of the arrival of a new coat makes it a tidy story and the reader will know the circle-of-use will begin again.
Garelick's work is well-known particularly "Where Does the Butterfly Go When It Rains?" She has been connected with book publishing all her life, being a writer, editor and promoter. "Just My Size" was her last book for children.
Du Bois, who has written and illustrated many books, comes from a line of famous artists. His father was Guy Pene du Bois, painter and critic and his mother was a designer of clothing. He is the author-artist of "Twenty-One Balloons," which won the Newbery Medal.