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  • Writer's pictureChris Stuckenschneider

Very Good Hats | Suggested by Chris Stuckenschneider

Popular, prolific Emma Straub turns her talents to kids’ books in her debut, “Very Good Hats.” This engaging, creative charmer is sure to have wide appeal as Straub invites us to see hats in a whole new light, by lighting up our imaginations with her cleverness.

Hats of all shapes and varieties don the cover, making for an excellent identification exercise, each hat worn by a different character, further expanding opportunities for explanation. Simple, interactive activities make for a brilliant read-aloud, assuredly garnering giggles and adoration.

Straub kicks off the hilarity by asking, “Do you know what a hat is?,” then adding: “Some people think hats are fancy things you can buy at a haberdashery, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.” (An iceberg’s tip is a hat in Straub’s mind, more ingenuity follows as the pages fly by.)

We see a spread with life-size pictures of two hands and get the gist of Straub’s humor, each digit decorated with its own kind of hat. “Acorns make snug hats for your fingers.” And on the facing page: “Raspberries, chewed-up gum, tortellini and doll shoes work too.”

Kids love silly and Straub nails it.

Everything from books on your head, to bubbles, to pajama pants, to empty bowls get top billing in colorful, bold, elemental art from illustrator Blanca Gómez, who visually embellishes the wittiness of the text in a gem that lap-sitters will love.

Hats-off to Straub who’s thrown her hat in the ring with making children’s books, proving she’s as adept at wowing kids as she is at dazzling adults with her best-selling novels.

“Very Good Hats” is just plain, good fun.

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