In Simon Philip’s You Must Bring a Hat!, the young protagonist has received a birthday invitation to his friend’s birthday party. This party has one rule: you must bring a hat! The only hat to be found belongs to a monkey, who is thankfully willing to attend the party. However, things spiral out of control when they get to the house and discover a whole host of rules barring entry to the party. Will the young boy be able to go to Nigel’s party after all?
This is a colorful and highly entertaining read for young children, and one likely to be read again and again due to the silliness of the rules involved. Kate Hindley’s illustrations are lovely to look at. Most of the characters are anthropomorphic animals, which children typically enjoy, and the cast of characters is quite diverse ranging in size from a worm to an elephant! This is also a children’s book in which kids will discover new things in the illustrations upon a second reading. Once you know the ending it’s easy to see the clues hidden within the illustrations that are easy to overlook the first time. The images and story are likely to inspire laughter and questions, and maybe some ideas for a future birthday party, with slightly less-crazy rules!
Whitney Smyth received a Master’s in Book Publishing and Technical Writing at Portland State University, following a Bachelor’s in English at the University of Arizona. She took over ownership of Portland Book Review in December of 2014. She also works as a freelance editor and can be commissioned at Smyth Editorial Services and spends what little free time she has on her own writing. Coming from a family of readers she devours an average of one hundred books a year, in a variety of genres. Her favorite authors are far too numerous to list, but include Alexandre Dumas, Mary Shelley, Jim Butcher, and John Green.
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