Thanks goodness for a great children's book to warm me up on a winter day. Oooo... how I love me a Jan Brett story! The Mitten is usually a staple of every preschool teacher's library, and it should be. It's a beautiful book. So beautiful, that for a long time, I ignored Jan Brett's book The Hat. Big mistake!
The Hat opens with a little girl, Lisa, hanging all her woolen clothes on the clothesline. When the wind blows one of her stockings off the line, it ends up stuck on the head of an adorable hedgehog, Hedgie. An embarrassed, Hedgie, tries to casually pass the stocking off as a hat when he is mocked by various other animals he runs into throughout the story. Do the other animals buy into Hedgie's story? You'll see when you reach the fun surprise ending!
Brett's illustrations are in her signature style, complete with detailed vignette's that add important details to the story beyond the text. In these vignettes we see Lisa searching for her missing stocking. We also see what's happening with the animals Hedgie visits with, after they have run off.
A big part of what makes Brett's books so much fun is the expression she conveys on the faces of the animals she illustrates. I love seeing the silly story of what's going on in the animals' fictional world, juxtaposed against the tale of Lisa, going about her business in a realistic human world. When these two worlds mingle at the end of the story, it's a perfect climax to the book. I really love that element Jan Brett uses in her books.
This story works great with our predicting unit because the details of Brett's illustrations give many clues which we can base our predictions on. And I think my students love this story even more than The Mitten. In previous years it's been one they have talked about for months after hearing it. They just love Hedgie! And who wouldn't?
We'll be reading this story in class tomorrow. Stay tuned to hear how our lesson went. I'll be posting about it later this week, complete with photos!