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[Monday Reading] Missing or Floating Hats, Surrealism, and Pop-Up Art in Picturebooks

A tribute to Surrealist Magritte and a pop-up translated picturebook.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

Since our theme also has to do with fashion and design, here are two picturebooks that pay tribute to … of all things, a hat.

That’s My Hat!

Created by Anouck Boisrobert & Louis Rigaud
Published by Thames Hudson (2016, translated from the French Oh! Mon Chapeau)
ISBN: 0500650578 (ISBN13: 9780500650578). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Translated from the French, this delightful pop-up picturebook invites the reader to find the missing hat that has flown here, there, and everywhere.

I also like how minimalistic the art is – as can be seen in the image above. With a line and a half-circle, a few dots, here and there – one can already conjure a hat from a blank page.

The book engineering required to also come up with a book like this is well considered. Even the way the text is juxtaposed with the images shows a sharp eye when it comes to graphic design.

This is definitely a book worth checking out – and who knows, you may just help the protagonist find the missing hat!

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat

Written and Illustrated by D. B. Johnson
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (2012)
ISBN: 0547558643 (ISBN13: 9780547558646). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Inspired by surrealist artist Magritte and his artworks, this is a kaleidoscopic, off-kilter type of picturebook that aims to introduce young readers to the way a surrealist perceives the world.

Evidently, there were clear attempts to create something unique – as can be seen in the transparencies in the pages, allowing for a different way of layering the story and superimposing a different narrative altogether.

While the storyline itself left much to be desired, I’ve always had this affinity towards the inventive and bold and unexpected. And this book is all sorts of that, for sure.

It is a dream within a dream within a dream kind of story matched with familiar images rendered in a peculiar manner. I enjoyed it.

#LitWorld2018GB Update: France (Boisrobert & Rigaud) | United States (Johnson)

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Monday Reading] Missing or Floating Hats, Surrealism, and Pop-Up Art in Picturebooks

  1. That’s My Hat looks like a fun picture book. Very creative.


  2. Oooh, I’d like to take a look at Anouck Boisrobert’s That’s My Hat. Yet I’m always nervous about bringing pop-up books into my house (you just never know if they’ll make it back to the library as my toddlers attempt to figure out how they work). LOL Thank you for bringing this title to my attention, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So delightful Myra! My granddaughter is really into hats these days. Unfortunately neither of these are in our library. 😦 Although I love the look of the first one, I won’t be purchasing it for a while since she would destroy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I imagine my youngest granddaughter will adore this book, Myra. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Sammis

    Both books look great. My weekly updates.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooh, I love cleverly engineered books, though alas they don’t tend to survive very well in a library setting. These are the ones I want just for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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