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THE BABY IN THE HAT by Allan Ahlberg


by Allan Ahlberg & illustrated by André Amstutz

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3958-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Wouldn’t it be remarkable if someone caught—in his hat, no less—a baby who had fallen out of a second-story window and then he ended up marrying that same baby many years later? In this whimsical, supposedly true story set in early 19th-century England, the young baby-catcher gets half a crown for his trouble, rides a train to London, falls into the river, lands on an ocean-bound ship, fights off pirates, “Served Good King William’s Navy ’gainst the French,” becomes a captain, then returns home with “Treasure in his Trunk.” The historical setting is reflected in the antique-looking typeface and generous use of capitalization. Upon his heroic return to town, the captain glances up at a beautiful maiden who smiles down at him from the very same window she’d fallen from so many years ago, and they live happily ever after with a tumbling tot of their own. The clean, engaging design, Amstutz’s vivacious gouache illustrations and peanut-gallery cartoon bubbles (“Ahoy!” “Aye-aye, sir!”) perfectly complement this simple, satisfying story narrated in short spurts by the baby-catcher’s best friend. Hurrah! (Picture book. 4-8)