cover image Chef's Hat

Chef's Hat

Chronicle Books, Naomi Kojima. Chronicle Books, $12.95 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-604-5

Humble Andre has always aspired to be a great chef, but he is unprepared for what results when the Emperor presents him with the tallest chef's hat imaginable. He impulsively vows that the hat will never leave his head, thus paving the way for delightfully silly occurrences. Until he learns to negotiate doorways with his cumbersome headgear, Andre must sleep and dine alfresco. At work he inadvertently swipes the toppings off cakes and unbalances waiters with ill-considered nods of the head; the task of washing his hat consumes the entire family's attention. Kojima's subtly hued, expressive illustrations--all delicate lines and soft washes of watercolor--heighten the story's humor and provide whimsical touches of their own. Vignettes of the assembly-line laundering of the hat and of the gourmand Emperor sneaking out of the palace, in disguise, to sup at Andre's restaurant are particularly delectable. Ages 3-7. (July)