cover image This is the Hat: A Story in Rhyme

This is the Hat: A Story in Rhyme

Nancy Van Laan. Joy Street Books, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-316-89727-3

This jaunty, singsong title, written with an irresistible momentum that calls to mind Margaret Mahy's 17 Kings and 42 Elephants , begs to be read and chanted aloud. Based on a familiar cumulative theme, the story concerns an old man who loses his hat to the wind. It becomes home to a spider, and then a mouse; it sits on a scarecrow--and so on, until it returns to its grateful original owner. Children encountering Van Laan's rhymed cadences, which energetically celebrate sound, will delight in repeating phrases like ``tap-a-tap-tap''; ``jig-a-jig-jig''; and ``screek-a-tweek-tweek.'' (These and other felicitous expressions leap out, one per spread, in bouncy colored text.) In Meade's illustrative debut, torn paper collages in happy blues, greens and magentas perfectly partner the text. A shimmering chapeau. Ages 1-4. (Oct.)