Monday, October 1, 2012

The Singing Hat by Tohby Riddle

I just adored this completely absurd story The Singing Hat by Tohby Riddle. Colin Jenkins awakes one day after a nap under a tree only to find that his head is now adorned with a bird's nest complete with bird. Not wishing to interfere with nature, he decides that he can carry on his daily routines with his new hat. The bird brings both positive and negative things into his life. Life becomes even more challenging when the eggs in "hat" hatch just as he is being dismissed from his job! It is a book of contrasts, as too is the illustrative style with solid and lightly sketched images. The pen and ink gouache, collage are cartoon like and add to the humour in the story. It's definitely a book to share with middle and upper primary students as they would appreciate the ambiguity and the amusing incidents much more than a younger reader. This book was first published in 2000 in Australia and has one a number of awards for both literature and design. These include Honour Book in the Australian and CBC Picture Book of the Year Awards and APA Best Designed Cover. So if you enjoy the bizarre you will love this book. The following website has some excellent discussion and teaching ideas on the book as well as some questions which could be explored:

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