Ever wonder about the magic of stories? Here, we learn that they can be pulled from a hat, just like a magic trick. Fantastic!

mr zingers hat.jpgMr. Zinger’s Hat
Cary Fagan
Tundra Books
ISBN: 978 1 77049 253 0

In Leo’s neighbourhood there was a small, strange man who was an author. Leo would see him out walking as he played, but his mother told him not to bother him. He didn’t – until his ball knocked Mr. Zinger’s hat from his head, and he was asked to help retrieve it, and then to sit down beside the old man. The two of them look inside the old man’s hat, and together, draw out of story – or rather, Mr. Zinger draws a story out of Leo, one detail at a time. After he leave, Leo meets Sophie, takes off his hat, and starts to pull a new story from it – and Sophie.

I love this story. I love the encouragement of imagining, of sharing the wonder of stories, and of creating your own. I love that the grumpy old man turns out to be wonderful, and gives Leo a gift that he can share with anyone, and I love that he does. For someone like me, who lives a life full of daily stories, who tells tales to children all of the time, it’s just a lovely, lovely thing.

Of course, a picture book is not a picture book without its illustrations, and Dusan Petricic (my apologies for not knowing how to add the accent marks in my blog platform!) is a favourite. He has a wonderful sense of humour, and a quirky style that always adds a little extra personality to whatever he is working with. This story is no exception. I love the expressions and the faces, as well as the sense of movement that he brings to the main characters. He also draws much simpler images to illustrate the story within the story, a simple way of delineating which is which.

This is one I’ll be sharing with both my own kinds and the ones at the library this fall!

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