Author Jan Brett
Illustrator/Photographer Jan Brett
Publisher and Year Scholastic, 1998
Number of pages: 28
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Descriptive Annotation: The illustrations created by Jan Brett make this book truly special. In The Hat, a hedgehog, Hedgie, accidentally gets a girl’s stocking stuck to his head. All the animals laugh at him, but Hedgie responds to each animal with a statement about how his new hat will keep him warm in the winter storm. Instead of continuing to make fun of him, each animal then runs away. The illustration on the top of the page shows clothes slowly disappearing off the clothesline as each animal talks to Hedgie. Finally, Hedgie has had enough of the taunting, and as he tries to go into his den, the girl comes out and takes it off for him, just as she realizes that all the other animals are wearing her clothes as well.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: The diversity in this book is found in the form of the various animals that live on the farm. The language found in The Hat was simple enough for younger children to read and understand. The Hat teaches a lesson that is important for children to learn—there may be bullies and taunting during school. Hedgie was made fun of for wearing the stocking even though it was an accident, and it made him very uncomfortable. The Hat could help students understand that they should not judge someone without determining the reason behind an action.
Interdisciplinary Connections: This book could be read in conjunction with a science unit on the seasons or specifically winter. Younger students could be asked to describe the types of animals that are more active during winter or describe the sleeping patterns (i.e. hibernation) of certain animals. This book could also be read at the beginning of the school year to serve as an example of how to not judge something before you try it. This lesson could be applicable to both social and academic aspects of school—a student may think he or she dislikes a subject, but he or she may realize they really like it.
Other Information: Jan Brett has written many other stories aside from The Hat. If students are interested in her work, she does have a website that includes various activities, coloring pages, and books for purchase.