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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Rosie's Hat

Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Anna Currey
Publisher: Macmillian's Children's Books, 2005

Here's a book with a great longevity; enjoyed from the age of 2 years to 7 years in our house. At 2 years, children enjoy the onomatopoeia in this book, with capitalised noisy words used to express the story; 'PATTER, PATTER! SQUEAK, SQUEAK!' At 3-5 year children start to understand that the hat in the story, is instrumental to all the characters, somewhere to hide for a mouse, used to build sandcastles for some boys, becoming a nest for some birds. From 5-7 years children enjoy the cyclical journey the hat makes, eventually being returned to its rightful owner, Rosie. From about four years children come to understand that Rosie ages and becomes the firefighter, and it's a lovely moment to talk about,  this understanding of generation, moving on, growing up, but loved items from childhood, and memories, still being there. Julia Donaldson revisits this theme latterly with her beautifully sensitive book, Paper Dolls

Anna Currey's watercolour and pen illustrations in Rosie's Hat are very soft and flowing; they capture the ebb of the wind and waves nicely, supporting the theme of 'coming and going'.  I also like that Currey plays with the 'in/consequential', so for example, the seagulls eating the fisherman's lunch, Rosie and her parents in the background of the beach scenes searching for her hat and leaving the beach. The illustrations also use character consistency, the fisherman, for examaple, later returning to the beach with his grandchildren, taking the photo of Rosie and her hat, and her loaning her firefighter hat to a child, to again stimulate this pattern of coming and going. 

This book reads aloud well, and its quiet in nature, soft and lilting, so very calming and gentle at bedtime. The story is also soothing; Rosie looses her hat accidentally, on a sudden fateful breeze, but is reunited fortuitously with her hat, though by this point she has grown and found her path in life, having her own firefighters hat. This, like in Paper Dolls, is a nice metaphor for many possible themes and opening for discussion with children, about bereavement, memories, loss, and simply moving forward after painful moments. 

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