There are so many unusual hats in the world worn by lots of people for many different reasons. However, they are all hats even though some bear no resemblance at all to others. In this delightful colourful book, 'Hats Off!', Neil Griffiths explores the wonderful world of hats and shows that hats can really be rather appealing.
'Hats Off!' is a wonderfully entertaining book that is written entirely in rhyme. It starts by asking if the reader has ever thought about how many hats they might have been bought and whether a hat actually looks good on their head or not. The author, Neil Griffiths, then goes on to suggest that there are:
'Hats too big, too tight
and too small,
Hats that just shouldn't
be worn at all!'
Looking at some of the hats that he actually does describe, this is quite an acute observation! This opening really sets the tone for the rest of the book which is all about taking a light hearted and humorous look at a vast array of weird and wonderful hats. There are chefs' hats, tartan cloth caps,stretchy swimming caps, granddad knotted hanky hats, space helmets, wizards' hats, umpires' flat white caps and so many more. In fact it is quite amazing just how many different hats are mentioned in this lovely book.
Not only do you hear about all of these wonderful hats but you get to see them too, thanks to Janette Louden's colourful, quirky illustrations. The best of these include a guardsman on parade wearing a sombrero on top of his bearskin hat in order to get some shade; some dancers wearing hats piled high with fruit; and a wonderful home-made hat that is being worn as it is still being knitted. All of the illustrations are very amusing and certainly caused some laughs from my daughters.
There is no story in 'Hats Off!' - merely a list of all of the different types of hats there might be and who might wear them. There is a nice surprise on the final page though when the author suggests that:
'... if hats look awful on your head,
Then wear a fascinator instead!'
and at this point a fascinator actually pops up on the page which is a lovely way for the book to end. It might sound as if there is not much to this book, but the range of interesting hats and the excellent illustrations provide so much to enjoy and talk about. With my daughters it has prompted lots of questions about different sorts of jobs and why people need to wear hats for so many different reasons. It's just a really enjoyable read.
Also, because 'Hats Off!' is written entirely in rhyming couplets it has a great rhythm and this make sit very enjoyable to read aloud. This also helps with small children's phonological awareness skills and it encourages them to hear and predict the rhyming words.
Overall, 'Hats Off!' is a really fun book that is likely to appeal to children of all ages.
'Hats Off!' is currently available in paperback on amazon for £5.29 (March 2012).
This review has already appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk