The Magician’s Hat (Malcolm Mitchell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Magician’s Hat, written by Malcolm Mitchell and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, a magical ode to the power of reading.

Family Fun Day has come to the library, and families of all shapes and sizes have gathered for the stories, activities, and of course, the books. For the first time, there’s also a magician, a tall and lanky man with a very mysterious hat. After performing a few mystifying tricks, the magician tells a story: when he himself was a young boy, he came to Family Fun Day at the library as well. It was there that he picked up his first book on magic, and learned that reading books has a magical power all its own. Then, he encourages his young audience to think about what they want to be when they grow up, then reach into his hat. Incredibly, the children who do so – even the skeptic – find just the right book to encourage their aspirations and help them envision their goals. The magician invites everyone to look for magic in books, because reading can help them make their dreams come true.

Very sweet. With an emphasis on the importance of reading as a self-driven hobby, the story focuses on how books can help us achieve dreams, both in the fantastical sense as well as the realistic. There’s not too much rising or falling action, but the message is strong enough that it holds its own without a more involved plot. Lee-Vriethoff’s illustrations are as charming as always, with spreads featuring the lanky-limbed magician and the children’s dreams and aspirations being gorgeous standouts. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed it. A wonderful story about the power of reading, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

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