THE SINGING HAT by Tohby Riddle

THE SINGING HAT

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Some moments in a life pass by strangely, and such is the case with Colin Jenkins in Riddle's (The Great Escape from City Zoo, 1999) decidedly peculiar picture book. Colin is your average man on the street. One day he grabs a catnap under a tree in the park and a bird builds its nest on his head. Colin, a fatalist and perhaps a bit of a Milquetoast, accepts his lot, then disarms readers with his honorable reasoning: He didn't wish to disturb the bird "at such a fragile and important time of life," nor was it "wise to interfere with nature." Now Colin becomes the object of scorn and ridicule by some, and admiration from others, while his daughter remains steadfast by his side. He loses some friends, his job, and his home. People just don't understand a man with a bird on his head. When things are at their bleakest, Colin learns from an ornithologist that the birds (the egg having hatched) on his head are "possibly the rarest in the world." Suddenly, they take flight and Colin "felt a near avalanche of relief." At home he puts the empty nest on a table by a window and "from time to time he would find the most beautiful and improbable things in the nest." The artwork has a slightly retro look with bits of collage and fine linework, the figures often set in front of a lightly sketched-in city or a solid-white background as if to add importance. A lovely book and an equally lovely tale full of decency and graciousness, this is worthy of reflection in a feckless world. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 19th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-36934-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2001




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