cover image Tiny's Hat

Tiny's Hat

Ann Grifalconi. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027654-6

Tiny remembers warm and wonderful times filled with laughter, stories and Daddy's ""sweet-sad"" trumpet playing as he holds his hat over the horn to ""soften the sound."" But when he stays away to play far-away gigs, Tiny misses him ""much too much."" Just before he leaves her for the last time, Daddy gives Tiny ""his big ol'/ Round ol' bowler hat""; this parting gift helps her to remember Daddy and his music and to find her own style for singing away the blues. Inspired by Grifalconi's (The Village of Round and Square Houses) love of blues music and the childhood of Billie Holiday, this poignant yet realistic story will especially strike a chord with readers who are dealing with separation and loss. Grifalconi's pastel portraits, rendered on an array of cool-colored backgrounds, convey the gentle underpinnings of the story as Tiny's expressive eyes change from bright to tearful and back again. An almost shimmering spread depicting Daddy ""aim[ing] his trumpet/ Up to the sky,/ Crying to the moon,"" suggests the magical sway music has over those who truly feel it; even the crescent moon mimics the curve of the horn as it meets Daddy's bowler hat. Grifalconi's expert use of abstract color outlines to underscore the characters' emotional shifts is reminiscent of John Steptoe's early work. A tender and moving tale. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)