cover image Very Good Hats

Very Good Hats

Emma Straub, illus. by Blanca Gómez. Rocky Pond, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-5935-2943-0

Embracing the same accessory-inclusive spirit as Instagram series Mac’s Book Club Show, Straub (This Time Tomorrow, for adults) throws her hat in the picture book ring with a gently comic clarion call to imaginations and creativity: “Anything can be a hat if you believe it is.” Tipping a chapeau to hats both conventional and less so, breezy encyclopedic text focuses most of its enthusiasm on examples that expand the definition of hats and who wears them. Examples include the finger hat (“raspberries, chewed-up gum, tortellini, and doll shoes,” each stuck on the end of a digit), a teddy bear’s pudding cup cap, and domestic objects’ toppers: “The roof is the house’s hat, and a lid is a pot’s hat./ Everyone knows that.” Bubbles, cats, clouds, and leaves make the list, too, as does a big bowl—though a line cheekily cautions first checking inside the latter, “otherwise you might have a soup hat instead.” Full of bright colors and strong shapes, and centering doll-like characters with an array of skin tones, digitally enhanced collage art from Gómez (Dress-Up Day) contributes bountifully to this book’s classic feel, offering an openhearted aesthetic playfulness that promises to inspire audiences’ love of categorization. Ages 2–5. (Jan.)