Author: Jim Aylesworth

4-Year-Olds Storybooks

Jim Aylesworth tells an inspiring story of a resourceful and thrifty young man who immigrated to America. The story is narrated by a grandchild, who takes the reader on a life journey of the grandfather and his growing family.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Tell your child the title of the book and take some time to discuss the illustration on the cover. Talk about the old-fashioned clothes that the man is wearing. Explain to your child that the man is actually the grandfather as a very young man when he moved from a faraway country to the United States. If you know the immigration history of your own family, this presents a great opportunity to share that personal history with your child.

Oral Language

The story, like grandfather’s coat, spans four generations. Talk about the growing family and the life changes that unfold throughout the story.

Discuss the illustrations. You might talk about the differences and similarities in the way the grandfather lived as a young man and the way your child lives today  For example, the grandfather had to get warm around a wood-burning stove and draw water from a well. How is that different from your life today? 

Each time the cloth becomes frayed, Grandfather creates something new from the fabric. In total, he creates five new things from the coat. For example, when the coat became frayed, Grandfather made it into a jacket. He later turned the jacket into a vest. You might pause on the pages where he “snipped and he clipped, and he stitched and he sewed, and out of the still-good cloth . . .” Ask your child to make a prediction as to what Grandfather might make next. 

Oral Language

Give your child props to retell the story. Provide pictures of a coat, jacket, vest, tie, cat toy, and the mouse nest. See if your child can use the props to retell the story. Assist as necessary.

Use family photos to create a family tree of your own family. 

Explore more easy at-home activities designed to build pre-reading skills in your four-year-old, or or take the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you determine if your child is on the path to reading readiness, and provides a free plan for moving forward.