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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hooray for Hat! Written and illustrated by Brian Won. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son, 2014. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"It was hard to stay grumpy now.

Elephant cheered.

"I will show Zebra!"

But Zebra did not want
to look at any hats."  

We learned from Grumpy Bird (Jeremy Tankard, 2007) just how important your friends can be in making your life better. In his debut book, Brian Won reiterates that idea. He shows us that doing something kind for a friend can yield magical results.

Elephant is obviously grumpy upon our first meeting with him. His halo is a black, squiggly cloud. His eyebrows slant inwward in a permanent pout, as does his mouth. Someone at the door does nothing to lighten his mood.

Opening the door to a surprise gift, and the gift itself, completely change his countenance. Turning the book to its vertical position, the contents of the package is made known to readers. Elephant's head is festooned with a towering array of hats!

The first thing he wants to do is share his good fortune with friends. Zebra, in the midst of her own grumpiness, wants nothing to do with Elephant. A 'pay-it-forward' moment brings cheer and a wish to show yet another friend.

The repetitive text and recognizable animals will delight toddlers and early readers. They will definitely be attracted to the muted hues used for the animals, and the bold colors of the hats in question. The font changes color and size for the celebration each time a hat makes another friend feel better than when the story began.  White space surrounds and encourages rapt attention to the characters themselves and the humorous details of the shared chapeaus.

 Funny and uplifting, this is sure to become a storytime favorite!

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