“Charlie needs a cloak,” everyone says. Charlie knows they’re right, so the young shepherd sets out to make one. Starting in spring, he shears his sheep, washes the wool, and cards it. Then he spins the wool to yarn, and dies the yarn in the juice from late-summer berries. Every fall evening, he weaves the yarn into cloth, which he cuts into pieces. He pins the pieces together and then sews them…and Charlie’s new cloak is ready just in time for winter!
Tomie dePaola, beloved author of the Caldecott Honor Book Strega Nona and many other favorite books for children, makes every step of this process book (and journey through the seasons) a joy to follow. A glossary at the end helps define words such as “shear” and “card,” although the detailed illustrations make each concept easy to understand in context. Children will delight in looking closely to follow the antics of Charlie’s clever house mouse, who is sometimes helpful, always mischievous, and never mentioned in the text.