Author and Illustrator: Tomi Ungerer
BUY – The Hat
The Hat tells a whimsical tale of a magic hat which brings good fortune to its wearer through the good deeds it performs.
A shiny black top hat with magenta silk sash, blows onto the head of a penniless war veteran. Bewildered at first the old soldier takes it off only to discover that it is alive!
He finds by chance that it will obey his commands and that it has a natural penchant
for helping people in need. This wonderful tendency brings riches to the old soldier Benito Badogio, as the hat retrieves an escaped rare bird, saves a baby and helps capture a dangerous bunch of criminals.
Set in Italy in the 1990’s, this story is full of exciting images. Penny farthing bicycles, vintage motorcars, open carriages, moonlit violin serenades, exotic birds and best of all an assortment of silver wheeled attachments to replace the old soldiers peg leg!
While some of the more colourful antics in this story were definitely more acceptable in the 1970’s, this book is full of high spirited drama and old world charm.
Gentlemen soldiers smoking cigars and ‘blowing their brains to reason’ with a cannon are not generally themes included in modern children’s books. This more worldly approach is however counter balanced by the good doing and the wonderful story line full of surprises and exuberant exclamations.
“Thunder of Sebastopole” and “Sulferino Smoke” the kind old soldier cried.”
The pictures are exotic, witty and full of funny details which children will be entranced by.
A lovely twist of an ending, fit for a movie script ensures this wonderful little story a place in the memory of all who read it.
If you can find the book it is better than the animation which deviates from the written story, leaving out some of the details which add to the rich historical context and unique European language content.
This highly collectable vintage children’s book, written in the 70’s is now sadly out of print. It can be purchased second hand using the link below.