Jan Brett - The Hat begins in late autumn. With winter on the way Lisa took her woolen clothes out of the chest and carried them outside. Before long as Lisa is hanging scarves and mittens and sweaters and socks on the line the wind catches one of her stockings and carries it right off the line.
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It does not take long before Hedgie, curious as always finds the stocking and sticks his nose inside. When he tried to pull his nose out again the stocking was stuck on his prickles. As Hedgie struggles to rid himself of the stocking; first one and then another of the farm animals comes by to see what all the commotion is about. Hedgie explains that the thing on his head is a hat, and isn't it beautiful. From the hen to the gander to the cat and the dog with her puppies to the pigs and the pony each of the farm animals makes his/her way to the clothes line to get a magnificent hat too.
The Hat is a child friendly, child pleasing companion work to Brett's class The Mitten which won the 1998 Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Brett's always splendid artwork fills the pages. As always the main picture is bordered by the Brett trademark borders which offer the reader a peek into the goings on foreshadowing what will come.
From round faced, pale blond Lisa dressed in Scandinavian garb, to each of the articles of clothing, the backgrounds, and farm animals Brett's artistic talents abound. We see Lisa going about her business in the border frames as Hedgie and his friends contemplate the stocking. The stocking itself is presented in such detail that an experienced knitter will have little trouble duplicating a pair of the socks for a grandchild.
The feathers along with the comb and wattles found on the hen are perfect to the eye of this farmer's daughter, and it is obvious Brett has seen her share of fluffy chicks who are beginning to feather out.
Osage County First Grade enjoy hearing the story read to them, and they enjoy talking about the pictures and the things they can see in them. The storyline provides the children opportunity for realizing that sticking your nose where it does not belong can have serious repercussions, and, trying to -make the best of the situation- can lead to unexpected results.
The illustrations provide even more discussion grist as Osage County First Grade begins to view the pictures with an eye for detail. With each re reading I do the kids are becoming more aware that children the world over like, do and behave in much the same manner as the students in my room, even though the settings may be different. The topography of north east Oklahoma little resembles the locale depicted in The Hat. Few if any of the kids have seen these old time peg clothes pins such as Lisa is using to pin her woolens to the line.
The word woolens alone is new to my students who are fascinated to discover it means the sweaters, vest, scarves, mittens and stockings have been knitted from yarn made from the fleece of a sheep. I knit and often wear sweaters to school during winter, the kids noticed the patterns I use often have Scandinavian theme.
The farm pond depicted on the page showing Lisa hanging her woolens is something my students recognize, we live in a rural setting where farm ponds are common. The elevated, wooden chicken house is something my students did not recognize at all; they were fascinated by it's appearance.
While the metal frame work of windmills left over from an earlier day dot the countryside now and then in our area; they are a far cry from the mill we see depicted on one of the pictures here in The Hat.
Brett's eye for detail always amazes and adds to my enjoyment as I read her books to my students. We find Mama pig enjoying a slice of cinnamon raisin toast which appears so realistically the kids and I recognize the swirl of cinnamon and the taste immediately.
Hedgie and his struggles to rid himself of the stocking plus his need to save face by assuring his friends that he likes his -hat- and is a tad surprised that his snickering chums have not yet gotten one for themselves reminds the reader of the bravado many children and adults alike exhibit when they too have -poked their nose where it should not be.-
Osage County First Grade is caught up in the story as the kids follow the main picture and the borders showing Lisa going about her chores unaware that her woolens are slowly disappearing from the clothesline. At last, following a glance through the window and we see Lisa with her heavy outer jumper over her dress trailing after a miserable Hedgie who wants nothing more than to rid himself both of the -hat- stuck to his prickles and the laughter of his friends.
As Lisa chases after the farm critters, each festooned with some of her woolens; Osage County First Grade view the scene with bright eyed enthusiasm and agree whole heartedly with Hedgie as he says, -animals should never wear clothes.-
Excellent book for classroom and home use. Happy to recommend.
Reviewed by Molly's Reviews
Product and shipping information from Amazon
Title: The Hat
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR Jan Brett
LISTENING level: Ages 3-8
Reading level: Read with help K-1, Read alone Grades 2 - 4
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
$7.99 In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
About the Author
Popular author/illustrator Jan Brett, was born in Hingham, Massachusetts. Today, she lives in Norwell, Massachusetts, a seacoast town in an historic area on the South Shore. She often spends a good bit of her summers in the mountains where she works on her books.
Brett writes and illustrates her own books in addition to adapting and illustrating works of others, especially folktales. As an illustrator, Brett does the picture work for books written by other authors. She spends a lot of time adding many details to her illustrations; it takes her about a year to finish one book.
An animal lover, Brett had many pets when she was a child. Today she often puts animals in her books. Most of Brett's books have themes about animal or nature.
While emotions, including sadness are found in her books; Brett manages to bring an optimistic message to her works. Brett's illustrating trademark is the use of detailed borders and side panels. Brett includes many details which add much to the story through the borders and side panels.