Emily Gravett is an old hat at the picturebook game except that, unlike the stylish characters in this book strive to be, she really is always fresh and fun. She’s above fashion, too, because her books bear her trademark sense of individuality, playfulness, and that quintessential twist.
Harbet has a hat, an old but comfy one that his Nana had knitted for him when he was little. He is perfectly content with it until he is targeted by the fashionistas who mock him with the refrain of ‘OLD HAT!’ They are the equivalent of the mean kids in school who made fun of you for having a knock-off pair of Adidas runners with four stripes instead of three. Like me—or, you know, any individual—Harbet tries to conform. He buys the latest in hats, including a fruit headdress, a traffic cone, and a pink Dr Martens, but it’s never enough. The fashions change and his hat is always old. It goes on until Harbet tires of it and decides to rise above it all and just go hatless and stop chasing the trend altogether. In more predictable hands, you might expect Harbet to return to his original hat, but with Gravett the end is entirely unexpected.
The illustrations are bright, evocative, and full of humour, with details that young readers will enjoy poring over, particularly the articles in the Top Hat magazine.
Hats are out! Heads are in! And they always will be.