Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? This book is an extremely challenging one to describe! The story itself is very simple — a young boy finds a yellow hat, puts it on, and walks all through his city. In the end he finds the rightful owner, returns the hat, and makes his own yellow hat. However, the story takes on a very surrealistic twist with the illustrations provided by Mark Alan Stamaty. I found that I was not really reading this book but looking very carefully at the illustrations trying to see all the bizarre and unusual things going on in the story. Some of the illustrations are so detailed and overwhelming that I actually enjoyed a page without illustrations but text only — gave my eyes a little break.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Nothing, but I would not say it is a reading book but more of an exploratory book — what are all the things you can see on each page?
To whom would you recommend this book? Many years ago, Stamaty’s illustrations appeared in the Village Voice and his bizarre and surreal technique is seen in this story. Even though the text is simple, the illustrations are geared for an older audience. Older children will love searching for the unique illustrations and will not be too bothered by some of the more surreal pictures such as a man with a face on both the front and back of his head, a young girl with one foot turned backwards, and a man holding his head in his hand. Sounds disturbing, but there are so many detailed illustrations that I can see kids having a fun time noticing all the little things (a bug watching TV, a car with roller skates for wheels, and a cobbler repairing a shoe for a giant). Kind of like a Where’s Waldo? for older children.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary libraries, anyone that works with children over the age of four. Even though the illustrations are funny, I think some of the pictures would be too creepy for kids under the age of four.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes