cover image Fuzzy, Furry Hat

Fuzzy, Furry Hat

Etienne Delessert. Creative Editions, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56846-296-7

The hat of the title sits on the head of a brown bear who is, in turn, perched in a beech tree. The bear invites other animals to come and enjoy the hat with him. Colorful birds arrive first to nestle within the hat, and animals follow%E2%80%94a pig, baboon, giraffe, and more. It starts to rain ("I love mud!" the pig says), and a swan stretches out its wing to shelter all of the animals ("I promise I'll never catch another bird..." a fox murmurs in guilty thanks). The rain floods the whole world, yet the animals are safe. It's Delessert's vision of Noah's Ark, readers eventually realize. In some of the artist's earlier works, the eyes and faces of his creatures had a mocking, menacing look. Here, they're benign, even affectionate, and they inhabit a young world of pale light and an ocean horizon. There is no creator to offer mercy or redeem the virtuous; the animals' kindness itself is their saving. In the end, the bells on the bear's hat ring and its ribbon flutters: "Music filled the skies once again." Ages 6%E2%80%938. (Aug.)