We are up to H in our letter of the week preschool, which meant this week was all about hats.
In this new book, D.B. Johnson introduces kids to the world of surrealism in art and specifically to the paintings of Rene Magritte. He does this through a charming story about a painter who is a dog who finds a hat that is magical. The hat helps him to see the world in a different way and transforms his life and his paintings. What I liked about this book is at one level it’s just a fun story. You don’t have to know anything about Magritte to like it. Yet it would also be a great jumping off point for a discussion on modern art or surrealism. Johnson’s illustrations include many references to Magritte’s art, both in the paintings of the Magritte character and in the world around him. The addition of several see through pages that change the picture when you turn the page adds to the feeling of surrealism. This week we just read it through and everyone liked it as a story. Next week we might read it again with more of a discussion of the art.
Magritte’s Marvelous Hat has been nominated for a Cybils award in the Fiction Picture Book category. One of the Cybils criteria is that the book have “kid appeal”. Last night David requested “that funny book about the dog and floating hat” before bed so I’d say this one has got it.
This has been one of my favorite H week books since John did the letter of the week. In bouncing cheery rhyme Eileen Spinelli looks at all kinds of different hats of famous historical figures (Fransisco de Goya, Nat Love, Sally Ride, and Igor Stravinsky are some of those included). Like the Magritte book, this is a book that a preschooler can enjoy for the fun rhyme and brightly colored illustrations without knowing anything about the people in them. Older kids will enjoy recognizing figures like Abraham Lincoln.
Aunt Lucy is a bit scatterbrained. She thinks she has lost her hat, not realizing it’s tied around her neck. She sets out to buy another hat (“a wide-brimmed hat and trimmed with lace to keep the sunshine from my face”) but somehow ends up with a…cat. She then goes to buy the cat milk and ends up with….silk. There is a lot of silliness to enjoy in this book as Aunt Lucy buys more and more items that rhyme with what she really wants but that just make for more chaos.
Other great books with a Hat theme: