Here's one answer, at least, to the archetypal question about where stories come from: Their authors pull them out of hats!
When old Mr. Zinger's windblown hat lands atop young Leo, the elder's suggestion that there must be a story inside it trying to get out leads the pair to make up a tale about a rich but bored lad who offers half his possessions to anyone who can cheer him up. The elder gently prods Leo to come up with all the major details—including the solution, which isn't a flat-screen television, a live monkey or other high-profile item but a simple ball and a boy to share. Zinger then departs, leaving Leo to continue playing alone with his ball as he was before...until a new friend named Sophie shows up to share both the ball and the creation of a brand new story from Leo's own cap. Petricic alternates loosely brushed, sketchily detailed watercolors to illustrate the frame story with even more simply drawn cartoons for the newly invented tales. In doing so, he expertly evokes the episode's understated warmth while cranking up the visual appeal with a set of distinctly delineated central characters interacting comfortably with one another.
A thoroughly engaging addition to the shelf of stories about storymaking. (Picture book. 6-9)