Friday, April 13, 2012

Book #104: The Magic Hat by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Tricia Tusa

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One day a magic hat comes wafting into town on a breeze. It flips and flies through the air until it lands on the head of a man and poof! suddenly the man is a toad! As the magic hat continues it’s journey through town, it continues to change ordinary people into magical creatures,

“Oh, the magic hat, the magic hat!
It moved like this, and it moved like that!”

The magical transformations pull people out into the streets to smile and laugh with wonder and awe. Then a great wizard appears and changes the animals back to people with a wink and a wave of his wand. He gives the people a magical present and slips away. As he walks away, he takes off his tall wizard’s hat and puts the magical hat on his head. I’ll leave you to guess what the magic hat changes him into as he walks down the road.

The rhyming text and repetitive magic hat refrain make this book a wonderful book to read aloud. The fast pace of the book is propelled by the forward motion of the magical hat and by the anticipation of the next magical event. Without the smiling faces and beautiful backgrounds this story could easily turn dark and sinister, but there is no chance of that with Tusa’s illustrations. The whimsical illustrations are full of round-faced people decked out in colorful stripes and polka dots.

This book is a quick read, so you might want to read it twice in one sitting. The first time ask the kids to guess what each person will turn into before turning the page. Read it again and invite the kids to join in on the magic hat chant. Patricia Gable suggests extending the chant into a dramatic game. Give everyone a hat and say the chant, each time turning into a different animal (see Gable’s list).

The rhymes in the book are great fun and can be used to help kids understand the concept of rhyming. After you read the book, ask the kids to tell you a two rhyming words from the book, such as “Wink” and “Think” and “Confused” and “Amused.” You can make a chart on the board with the word pairs or even have the kids illustrate the rhyme.

Follow up with the rhyme, The Magic Hat, or one of the rhymes or games I’ve mentioned in my other hat themed book posts (Millie’s MarvellousHat, A Three Hat Day, and Go, Dog, Go!).


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