Simple, simple, simple – that’s what I’m looking for in a picture book for young children at the beginning of the school year. I want a book with the bare minimum of plot to follow: bright, bold illustrations; and plenty of silliness. Easy to understand and easy to enjoy.
“Where’s Mary’s Hat” fits the bill perfectly. Mary the cow has lost her hat. Does the fish, swimming in the air between two bowls, have
it? No.Does the elephant who’s jumping rope? No. Does the pig who’s diving off the diving board? No. They all have their own hats. (See what I mean about silliness?) I make up a little song,
“Have you seen my hat?”, which children can sing
along with while patting their heads.
The story has the kind of “surprise ending” that’s the best kind – one that preschoolers can easily see coming, but not too soon. The bear is flying a kite – but the end of the kite is outside the edge of the picture. I wonder what his kite will turn out to be?
Sadly, this book is out of print, but you can pick up a used one on Amazon – it’s also in many libraries.