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The Children of Hat Cottage

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Beskow's charming tales from 80 years ago are being reissued for young readers of today. Here we are introduced to a handy little fisherman who lives in a tree-stump house on a lake, and to a little woman with three children who lives on an island in the middle of that lake in a small cottage shaped like a hat. One day the woman leaves the children to go to the mainland in search of yarn to make them new clothes. We first follow her quest. Meanwhile the children, trying to help their mother, end by starting a fire. The little man rows to the rescue, but is too late to save the Hat Cottage. He helps the children rebuild a shelter and puts them to bed. When their mother returns, distraught at her loss, the little man proposes to her, for a happy ending. The illustration of the youngsters and their cottage on the cove proposes a happy story. Black ink line drawings with touches of watercolors create mostly light-hearted vignettes to tell the tale with happy intent despite the fire. Including a "snail boy" and "Pastor Mole" enhances the delicacy of the visualizations. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—First published in Swedish in 1930, this book captures the mood of a tale told long ago. A "little woman" and her three children live on an island in a cottage shaped like a hat. Before she goes to the mainland to buy yarn to make them clothes, the mother tells the youngsters that if they are good while she's away, she will bake sweet honey cakes. The children decide to surprise her and sweep the chimney. Of course, they end up covered in soot so they bathe and wash their clothes in a tub over a fire. The blaze gets out of control, and a "little man" who lives in a tree trunk on the mainland within sight of the Hat Cottage rows over to help put out the flames. The house can't be saved, so he builds a new cottage and puts the children to bed. When their mother returns, she is beside herself. The little man's solution is to marry her. The family spends the winters in the man's tree trunk where it is warm and cozy and summers in the cottage where it is warm and sunny. They live happily ever after. Despite the disconcerting plot element of the fire, this story is quite charming. Watercolor hues create a whimsical feel, and white space accentuates the lively drawings, which are beautifully done. This is a cozy, old-fashioned read-aloud that should find an appreciative audience.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Three young siblings are left alone at home; could there be trouble? Of course. Mother and her children live on a little island in a spruce little cottage that looks like a man's hat. Occasionally, she must row to the mainland on various errands. When the children need new clothes, she decides to go get some yarn, promising sweet honey cakes for the children if they're good. The trip takes longer than expected; neither the spider, the snail nor the shoemaker who lives by the shore has any wool. Meanwhile, the children decide to help by cleaning out the chimney. They use twigs as brushes and get covered with soot in the process. They bathe in the ocean, then use the twigs to start a fire to heat the water to clean their clothes. But the fire spreads to the cottage! Luckily the shoemaker sees smoke and rows across the water. It's too late to save the cottage, but the man helps the children build a new, stronger one out of wood--and ends up marrying their mother when she returns. Presented with an abundance of white space, the economically drawn figures are delicately tinted with watercolors. The charming fable was published in Sweden in 1930, and its vintage feel is positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780863158551
  • Publisher: Floris Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 850,639
  • Product dimensions: 10.65 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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