Reviews for Mr. Zinger's Hat

Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
Every child needs a Mr. Zinger--and his hat!--in his or her life. A contemplative, self-contained writer who wears a big black hat on his thought-gathering walks, Mr. Zinger nevertheless has time for Leo when the child's ball misfires and sends the hat sailing. Recovering from the encounter, the kind man engages the child by asking what kind of story the retrieved hat holds. Collaborating on the tale, Mr. Zinger helps Leo use his imagination to create the story-within-a-story about a prince and a ball--both of which seem awfully familiar. Petricic's illustrations change from loose, soft watercolors to sharply defined cartoon drawings when the two enter the realm of their shared fiction. When the dreamy washes resume, Mr. Zinger continues along his walk, while Leo pays forward the storytelling hat trick to a new playmate, this time with his own baseball cap. This book oh-so-softly brings across a sweet, multigenerational message about sharing the power of imagination. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Leo befriends a behatted elderly writer who convinces him that he needs the boy's help--a story is "trying to get out" of the hat. (Readers will understand that the writer is actually goading Leo to tell his own tale.) The text is overlong but clever, like the art: Leo's imaginings alone are rendered cartoonishly, as by a child's hand.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 July #2
Here's one answer, at least, to the archetypal question about where stories come from: Their authors pull them out of hats! When old Mr. Zinger's windblown hat lands atop young Leo, the elder's suggestion that there must be a story inside it trying to get out leads the pair to make up a tale about a rich but bored lad who offers half his possessions to anyone who can cheer him up. The elder gently prods Leo to come up with all the major details--including the solution, which isn't a flat-screen television, a live monkey or other high-profile item but a simple ball and a boy to share. Zinger then departs, leaving Leo to continue playing alone with his ball as he was before...until a new friend named Sophie shows up to share both the ball and the creation of a brand new story from Leo's own cap. Petricic alternates loosely brushed, sketchily detailed watercolors to illustrate the frame story with even more simply drawn cartoons for the newly invented tales. In doing so, he expertly evokes the episode's understated warmth while cranking up the visual appeal with a set of distinctly delineated central characters interacting comfortably with one another. A thoroughly engaging addition to the shelf of stories about storymaking. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #3

Leo's mother has told him not to disturb Mr. Zinger, who's a writer, but when Leo's ball sends Mr. Zinger's hat flying, the old man invites Leo to sit and talk. The man begins by gazing into his wayward hat to see what made it fly off. "Ah, I see now," he says. "It's a story. A story trying to get out." Mr. Zinger starts a tale, weaving into it Leo's many interruptions and suggestions; it's clear he's an old storytelling hand. Petricic (who teamed with Fagan on My New Shirt) uses simple outlines and candy colors for the story-within-a-story and somber shades and cross-hatching for the scenes of Mr. Zinger and Leo--so distinct are the styles, they could easily be the work of two separate, equally accomplished illustrators. When Mr. Zinger says good-bye, Leo asks if he will write the story they've just made. "No," Mr. Zinger replies, generously. "That's not my story, that's your story." Fagan's dialogue moves smartly, almost independently of the artwork, yet Petricic's drawings give needed warmth to the relationship between Leo and Mr. Zinger. Ages 4-6. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 December

K-Gr 3--Leo is playing by himself when the wind picks up his ball, which knocks off an elderly man's hat. Leo helps catch it, and the two sit down on a bench. Mr. Zinger, a writer, tells Leo that there is a story in his hat, and the boy then proceeds to help him fill in the details. When it is finished, Mr. Zinger says good-bye, and Leo begins to bounce his ball again. This time, it flies off into the hands of a girl. Leo and Sophie play until they are tired and then sit on the bench. Leo takes off his cap and…. This circular tale nicely illustrates the use of imagination and the power of story. The text is just right for newly proficient readers and teachers could easily use it in writing lessons. Petricic's illustrations extend the narrative. In the "real" world, the pictures are done with a watercolor wash. In the story portion, they are composed of flat, opaque colors on a cream background. The book is nicely designed, with plenty of white space and typesetting that sometimes flows along with the wind. Budding storytellers will appreciate this book.--Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada

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