cover image Mr. Zinger’s Hat

Mr. Zinger’s Hat

Cary Fagan, illus. by Dusan Petricic. Tundra, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77049-253-0

Leo’s mother has told him not to disturb Mr. Zinger, who’s a writer, but when Leo’s ball sends Mr. Zinger’s hat flying, the old man invites Leo to sit and talk. The man begins by gazing into his wayward hat to see what made it fly off. “Ah, I see now,” he says. “It’s a story. A story trying to get out.” Mr. Zinger starts a tale, weaving into it Leo’s many interruptions and suggestions; it’s clear he’s an old storytelling hand. Petricic (who teamed with Fagan on My New Shirt) uses simple outlines and candy colors for the story-within-a-story and somber shades and cross-hatching for the scenes of Mr. Zinger and Leo—so distinct are the styles, they could easily be the work of two separate, equally accomplished illustrators. When Mr. Zinger says good-bye, Leo asks if he will write the story they’ve just made. “No,” Mr. Zinger replies, generously. “That’s not my story, that’s your story.” Fagan’s dialogue moves smartly, almost independently of the artwork, yet Petricic’s drawings give needed warmth to the relationship between Leo and Mr. Zinger. Ages 4–6. (Aug.)