A lonely dachshund named Mr. Pockles finds new friends when he shares his extensive collection of elaborately decorated hats with other animals from his town.
Mr. Pockles lives all alone in his house with a hat-shaped roof, surrounded by his collection of imaginative hats, each one named and adorned with thematic decorations for every occasion. He longs to attend the Hat Day celebration at the PandaPolitan Club, but only pandas are allowed at the exclusive destination. While stopping in a bakery for a treat to cheer himself up, Mr. Pockles meets Lady Coco Fitz-Tulip, a grande dame of the panda set on her way to the Hat Day event. She is wearing a Carmen Miranda–style hat covered with fruit, and in a hilarious sequence, her hat is eaten by baby bunnies. Mr. Pockles invites Lady Fitz-Tulip and the other animals from the cafe back to his house, where they all choose new hats. Lady Fitz-Tulip takes everyone to Hat Day as her special guests, as “friends of pandas are invited, too.” The drolly humorous story is told in a strong narrative voice, with melodramatic flair, clever dialogue, and distinctive personalities for both Mr. Pockles and Lady Fitz-Tulip. Vibrant mixed-media illustrations use a cool palette with jewel-toned accents and glowing lights in the city buildings that impart a fairy-tale aura to the setting.
This amusing story is delicately threaded with some subtle lessons about sharing, making friends, and including everyone. (Picture book. 4-8)