Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book #36: Milo’s Hat Trick by Jon Agee

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Milo the Magnificent is a magician, but he’s not very good. In fact, he’s very bad. The theater manager, Mr. Popovich, gives him one more chance to pull a rabbit out of his hat or else! But instead of catching a rabbit, Milo somehow ends up with a bear. Luckily, the bear knows how to make his bones like rubber to disappear into a hat. Milo and his disappearing bear become world famous, but what will Milo do when the bear goes back to his cave to hibernate?

The illustrations communicate a droll sense of humor. One of my favorites is Mr. Popovich screaming about rabbits and holding up a picture book with the page open to “R is for Rabbit.” The illustrations show character traits that are only hinted at within the text. For instance, you might guess from the dialogue that Milo is a downtrodden, meek man, but once you see the pictures of his slouched posture and too-short pants you’ll be absolutely sure of it.

I love this story because it pulls the rug out from under our usual assumptions of a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat. There’s something so ridiculous about a bear that can make his bones into rubber to jump in and out of hats! I also like that by the end of the story Milo has learned how to be independent and magnificent on his own, without the aid of a rabbit, bear, or any other animal.

Teach your kids a few disappearing or appearing magic tricks., named one of American Library Association’s Great Sites for Kids, has a bunch of kid-friendly magic tricks. If I had to pick just a few to go with this book I’d choose pulling a pencil out of a match box, disappearing metal, and got penny? PBS Kids and Zoom has some fun magic tricks invented by kids, too.

For hat-related activities, fingerplays, and crafts check out my posts for Millie's Marvellous Hat, A Three Hat Day, and Go, Dogs, Go! 


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