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The Hat
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About the Author

With over thirty four million books in print, Jan Brett is one of the nation's foremost author illustrators of children's books. Jan lives in a seacoast town in Massachusetts, close to where she grew up. During the summer her family moves to a home in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.

As a child, Jan Brett decided to be an illustrator and spent many hours reading and drawing. She says, "I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books. Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists. The detail in my work helps to convince me, and I hope others as well, that such places might be real."As a student at the Boston Museum School, she spent hours in the Museum of Fine Arts. "It was overwhelming to see the room-size landscapes and towering stone sculptures, and then moments later to refocus on delicately embroidered kimonos and ancient porcelain," she says. "I'm delighted and surprised when fragments of these beautiful images come back to me in my painting."Travel is also a constant inspiration. Together with her husband, Joe Hearne, who is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jan visits many different countries where she researches the architecture and costumes that appear in her work. "From cave paintings to Norwegian sleighs, to Japanese gardens, I study the traditions of the many countries I visit and use them as a starting point for my children's books."

Reviews

In this agreeable companion to The Mitten, a Scandinavian girl prepares for winter's arrival by hanging her woolens out to air. When a red-and-white patterned sock falls from the line and gets stuck on his prickles, a hedgehog (who bears the too-cute name of Hedgie) acquires a curious-looking hat. Various farmyard animals mock him, but when Hedgie explains that his new headgear will protect him from the impending snowfall, they are inspired to search out similar garb. Leaving a more lasting impression than this sparse plot, Brett's signature art introduces animal characters as endearing and expressive as those who congregated in her earlier book's expandable white mitten. The format here is familiar as well: the artist frames her double-page pictures with broad borders depicting additional goings-on that hint at the tale's outcome. As before, Brett demonstrates an expert eye for color, rendering the child's embroidered coat and lush, patterned knits in vivid primary hues that pop boldly from the cool, subdued tones of the northern winter landscape and sky. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

PreS-Gr 3‘A clever and appealing picture book. In preparation for cold weather, Lisa takes her winter clothes out of their storage chest and hangs them up in the fresh air. A strong wind blows one of her knit socks off the line. A hedgehog sticks his head inside, and it becomes stuck on his quills. When a hen, goose, cat, dog, pig, and horse laugh at his appearance, he tries to salvage his dignity by telling each one that his new hat will keep him dry, warm, and cozy throughout the winter. Finally, Lisa finds him and removes her sock, telling him that animals don't wear clothing. But when she goes back to the clothesline, she sees all of the animals wearing her gloves, sweaters, and scarves on their heads. Brett's illustrations are done in her trademark style of highly detailed depictions of her characters and a creative use of borders. Contained within them are small illustrations foreshadowing what will happen next. Shades of grays and greens capture the chilly autumn landscape. Against this background, the earthy colors of the animals and the deep red of Lisa's sock make a stark contrast. The pictures, story, and subject matter make this a natural for sharing aloud. And while very young children may need to have the humor of Hedgie's predicament explained to them, the book's appeal will be broad.‘Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal

"A clever and appealing picture book . . . . Brett's illustrations are done in her trademark style of highly detailed depictions of her characters and a creative use of borders. . . . The pictures, story, and subject matter make this a natural for sharing aloud."--School Library Journal


"In a companion book to Brett's The Mitten (1989), a little girl decides to unpack her winter woolens from their decorated chest and hang them out on a line to air before winter comes. . . . The satisfying story celebrates the cozy hearth, home, and barnyard of picturesque Scandinavian country life, frozen in time. Brett's somber tones of pre-winter are enlivened by the intricate, colorful clothing; her fine, independent heroine is in charge of the story, and the inventive little hedgehog triumphs as well."--Kirkus Reviews

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