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The Coat and the Handbag

Original title: Kabát a kabelka
Publisher: Argo, 2021
ISBN: 978-80-257-3523-7
Illustrations: Galina Miklínová
78 pages
Age: 6+, Children's Literature


  • Winner of the prestigious Czech Magnesia Litera Award for best children's literature

A coat and a handbag fall in love. A tender, poetic and slightly crazy story about love, community and happiness in pandemic times. The two get to know each other on the bus. Very soon there is a spark between them. But before they get together, each of them experiences incredible adventures. And psst, inside the handbag is living a mouse.

The coat and the handbag have liked each other since they first met on the bus. But their ways part. The handbag involuntarily turns into a bird’s nest and together with the mother bird she looks after the chicks until they are fledged. The coat is found on the river quay by a fisherman, who puts him on. Later he warms a man weary of life, then a homeless man. He also climbs onto a roof and lets the wind carry him above the city.

Eventually the handbag and the coat find each other again and become inseparable. They have fun together in the city streets. And they make sad people laugh who have to keep their distance and wear masks. At the end the two help a young couple expecting a child to get to hospital in time.

Marka Míková (this time in marvellous consonance with illustrator Galina Miklínová) demonstrates once again what she has shown many times: that she is a master of creativity, an author capable of conjuring a multilayered story where there is no shortage of fun or fantasy, attention to detail as well as subtle emotion. The coat and handbag together shape a different kind of love story set in the world of things and animals—and also of the recent global pandemic, which has eroded a lot of our shared reality, sometimes including its most basic elements such as play and adventure.
Radim Kopáč, literary critic

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