cover image Hats Off to Mr. Pockles!

Hats Off to Mr. Pockles!

Sally Lloyd-Jones, illus. by David Litchfield. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55815-3

Lloyd-Jones (Goldfish on Vacation) opens by describing hat fancier Mr. Pockles’s collection, including one under glass that he’s never worn (“It was Too Special and he was saving it for Best”). Mr. Pockles, a shy, impeccably groomed hound with long ears and blue eyes, dreams of appearing at Hat Day at the PandaPolitan Club. Only pandas are allowed in, however, so he mopes at the Treat House in his “Jaunty Hat with a Friendly Feather.” When prominent panda Lady Coco Fitz-Tulip sashays into the café and loses her fruit hat to some hungry baby bunnies, Mr. Pockles saves the day—“HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS, EVERYONE!”—giving Lady Coco his Best hat and distributing the rest to the crowd. Naturally, Lady Coco brings them all to the PandaPolitan Club. The tale has more than a whiff of royalism, with its exclusive club and its fascination with Lady Coco’s family pedigree (she’s “even had streets named after her”). But Litchfield (When Paul Met Artie) creates crisp mixed-media spreads that revel in jewel-box colors and patterns; his hats are adorned with hearts, feathers, and even a miniature roller coaster. The hats are the star attraction here. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)