September 13, 2016

Hat On, Hat Off

by Theo Heras
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
Pajama Press
24 pp.
Ages 1-3
September 2016

If you're Canadian with young children, you know about that compulsory basket of hats (and mittens and scarves) by the front door from which appropriate outdoor apparel can be plucked before heading out. As this little boy is getting ready and gotten ready to go with a help of a older but still young sister, a menagerie of hats go on and off with every step of the process. Thankfully, judging by the illustrations by Renné Benoit, it's not even the depths of winter so hats are the only on-off selection for this child!
From Hat On, Hat Off 
by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit
A red bear hat goes on, a sweater gets hidden.  The red bear hat goes off as sister does up his sneakers.  Jacket goes on with a new fleece blue-striped hat with frilly red pom pom which gets traded for a penguin hat after a detour for a sippy cap and pail and shovel. But wait! Time for a potty break (and, of course, you must remove your hat when you go to the toilet, right?) and a new green hat with eyes.  Then the absentee Bunny, with his own hat, must be located, and our little one is back in his red bear hat.  That is, until he isn't.

An autumn day with colourful leaves dotting the ground and ripe for picking is a perfect day for sporting a great hat, even one that is probably mandated by a mum or dad. Theo Heras’ text is not complex but that makes it easy to follow for those for whom Hat On, Hat Off is written, and the book is appropriately packaged for them: small size with padded hardcover, thick paper and rounded corners.  Young children will enjoy anticipating the next hat on and off and spot the common tactics toddlers use to prolong that getting-ready-to-go-outside activity.  But I know they’ll especially be hooked by Renné Benoit’s endearing illustrations of the children and their accounterments, particularly the assortment of head gear.  With knitted caps of varying colours and textures (very important in a hat) and design elements, Hat On, Hat Off a joyful experience of style and taste and childish amusement.
From Hat On, Hat Off
by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit 


If you're in the Toronto area this Sunday, get a signed copy of Hat On, Hat Off at the book launch with author Theo Heras and illustrator Renné Benoit at Another Story Bookshop on Roncesvalles Avenue at Grenadier.  Details are here.

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