Rosa, a bouncy poppet with cowgirl boots and a little backpack, is on her way to school when the wind takes her red sun hat away in this Southwest-set tale inspired by the Ukrainian folktale “The Mitten.”
In the cactus-filled desert landscape, the hat settles, and a mouse comes by to shelter from the sun under it. Soon, the mouse is joined by a hare, then a roadrunner, then other beasts as the skies darken and the rain comes down. The sun hat shelters them all: “Move over, mouse. / Share, hare. / Make room, roadrunner. / Amble aside, tortoise. / Be quick, quail. / Find a spot, fox!” The rain stops; the wind takes the sun hat again; the animals scatter; and Rosa, on the way back from school, finds her hat in somewhat different shape. The lines occasionally burst into versifying internal rhymes, the smooth scansion of which creates a nicely paced rhythm. Some of the word use is a bit problematic: The sun hat is described as “red as rubies, / soft as sand”; rubies seem an odd choice (apples? tomatoes?), and sand is often harsh and irritating. Sisson’s large forms and broad strokes delineate landscape and animals, the bright red sun hat, the tawny sand and the bright blue sky all showing off to best advantage.
Rosa loves her sun hat in any form it takes, and readers will appreciate it as well. (Picture book. 5-8)