Review: Brimsby’s Hats by Andrew Prahin
By Andrew Prahin
Simon & Schuster
Oh the fine line books must walk. Or should I say lines. The line between contemplative and boring. The line between quirky and precious. The line between charming and cloying. And there are a million more where these came from. It ain’t easy. With debut picture book Brimsby’s Hats, Andrew Prahin manages to walk those lines, delivering a fresh take on the friendship trope in the process. It’s a timeless story with a modern presentation that’s easy to love.
Brimsby is a hat maker. Every day he sits and works as his best friend supplies tea and companionship. But when his pal sets out to become a sea captain, Brimsby comes to the slow realization that he’s lonely. His quest for new friends brings Brimsby to a tree full of birds, busy trying to stay warm. The hat maker comes up with a creative plan to help, making a flock of new friends in the process.
The illustrations, created using Adobe Illustrator, give the whole operation a modern look that will appeal to young readers. Prahin does well to juxtapose detailed interior illustrations and vignettes with dramatic two page spreads. Careful attention has been paid to fluctuations in the color palette, subtly adjusting to (and helping to set) the mood of the story.
It’s a well-crated little book full of unique charm. A example of old and new working together perfectly.
Review copy purchased.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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