Friday, January 20, 2006

The Magic Hat by Mem Fox

The Magic Hat
By Mem Fox
Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Ages: 2-5
Topics: hats, animals, wizard, magic

A magic hat appears in town “without any warning at all”. It lands on the heads of various town people and turns them into exotic animals until a wizard arrives “with a sign that said: STOP!” The animals are turned back into people “dazed and confused/ Watched by a crowd that was highly amused!”. The wizard skips off with the “fabulous hat/That made all the magic – wherever it sat!”

This light, magical story has a sweet refrain “Oh, the magic hat, the magic hat!/It moved like this and it moved like that!” that’s fun to read and builds predictability right into the story making this a perfect picture book for younger children, who will quickly learn which animal comes next. The pen and watercolor illustrations are playful, bright, and larger-than-life and dominate the text. They provide visual clues on which animal will next appear (for example, the grocer who is turned into a baboon is juggling bananas). The pictures are full of happy children, in fact, all the townsfolk are merry and depicted as a warm, close community.

Mem Fox , Australia’s most highly regarding picture book author, has written 29 picture books including Time For Bed, Koala Lou, and Possum Magic. She is a literacy consultant and also the author of Reading Magic, for parents of very young children.

Tricia Tusa is the author of Maebelle’s Suitcase, Camilla’s New Hairdo, and Bunnies in My Head (which features drawings by young patients at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center). She is also the illustrator of many other picture books including Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden and How to Make a Night. She lives in Houston, Texas.

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