When is a hat not a hat? When it finds its way into the hands of Kasza’s lively cast of woodland creatures!
A squirrel marks the spot of his buried acorn with a red hat. But a strong wind blows the hat high up into a tree, and it lands next to a little bird. “Wow! What a terrific nest!” she chirps. “Finders, keepers.” Alas, the hat doesn’t stay put and next falls into a stream. A little ant spots it. “Yippee! What a nice boat!” he declares. “Finders, keepers.” Next, a bear splashing in the water pops it on his face and cries, “What a perfect clown nose!” And so it goes until the hat ends up right where it started. Kasza’s customary mix of media—colored pencil, gouache, and oil pastels—ably showcases the rich, vibrant colors of the woods and brings its energetic inhabitants to life. Her clever use of perspective and composition also helps tell the story from the characters' points of view. Pages are framed with grass and flowers, reflecting what small animals and insects see from ground level; the contrast between big and small is made evident, for example, when the bear’s big foot creates a colossal wave (for an insect) next to the ant in the stream.
With silly scenarios and a surprise ending to tickle young readers, this circular story makes a terrific storytime read. (Picture book. 3-5)