Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book #12: A Three Hat Day by Laura Geringer, Illustrations by Arnold Lobel


Image from Amazon.com
This is the story R.R. Pottle, a man who loves hats. His father loved canes and his mother loved umbrellas. They lived together in the Pottle mansion. But then his parents pass away and he’s all alone. R. R. dreams of finding his future wife in the rain. He knows she will be wearing the perfect hat.

Every morning when he wakes up, he chooses a hat for the day. If he’s feeling blue he’ll wear 2 hats. This is a particularly bad day; he wears 3 hats. To cheer himself up, R.R. goes to the hat shop where he tries on different hats. There he meets Isabel, the hat shop assistant, who’s wearing the perfect hat! They live happily ever after and together they have a daughter, R.R. Pottle, the fourth, who loves…shoes!

Image from Harper Collins
This small book, endorsed by Reading Rainbow (skip the first 2 mins and you can hear the story), has a wonderful wistful quality to it. I like that the adults in the book are modeling good behavior. With the exception of the hat shop owner, the characters are well-mannered and polite. They treat each other with respect and expect others to do the same.

The illustrations are simple, but if you look hard you’ll find the hidden details. The tree made of butterflies, the Pottle mansion built of canes and umbrellas, the cane with a bunny head. There’s also something amusing about R.R. Pottle, a man who sports small round glasses and a bushy mustache, wearing a bonnet or a bathing cap.

Image from Google Books
The best part is the sheer number of hats mentioned in this book, from berets to bowlers, pillboxes to sombreros. Have lots of hats (or pictures of hats) when you tell this story. When R.R. puts on 3 hats go ahead and put on 3 hats too. And when Isabel takes each hat off have a different child take off each of your hats. If you don’t have hats in your dress up box, check out local thrift stores or make a few of your own. Look at the hat crafts I posted for Go, Dog, Go! 

I found the song, My Silly Hat, which is sung to the tune of This Old Man. In her blog, Awesome Storytime, Sarah H. suggests a sombrero beanbag toss. Pass out some small bean bags to your kids and place a sombrero in the center. If you have a lot of kids in your group get 2 hats and have the kids make 2 circles. Play some fun music and march around the hats. When the music stops everyone throws their bean bag into the sombrero. 

-Amy

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