Tonight I was back with T and, despite some strong nudges in the direction of Shirley Hughes’ Dogger, he picked out You Must Bring a Hat, by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley, for his bedtime story.
The story of this story is a young boy who receive a party invite which comes with a fairly strong condition – he must bring a hat! He is even told that the party depends on it! The boy immediately panics as he doesn’t own a hat of his own, and the pressure only ramps up when he finds the local hat shop is sold out. His saving grace arrives I the form of a monkey who won’t lend out his hat but will happily be dragged along to the party.
Unfortunately, the boy arrives at the party to be confronted by a tough doorman who introduces further conditions for entry. These get ever more difficult to meet, to the point where we have a monocle-wearing monkey, piano-playing badger, tutu-wearing elephant and cheese-carrying penguin all accompanying the boy in his attempt to get into the party! And it’s only when the boy eventually loses his temper that we are hit with a final, funny twist!
The wild and wacky characters, silly entry requirements and ultimate release of exasperation are guaranteed to get young readers laughing and engaged. The character variety also provides a great opportunity to try out a range of voices (we did posh badger, cockney doorman, etc) which is always good for giggles. The real star of the show here though is the illustration – it is bright and busy and jam-packed full of humour. You will still be spotting things for the first time on your fifth read!
A story that is all about silly and fun (no moral here beyond maybe reading things carefully!), sure to appeal to readers 3 and up. T told me, “I liked it a little bit but the boy did naughty shouting!” We did enjoy a brief second read before bed, with T asking questions about different animals.
You can get your own copy of tonight’s bedtime read here…