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Virginnie's Hat
     

Virginnie's Hat

by Dori Chaconas, Holly Meade (Illustrator)
 

A plucky girl chases her hat through a critter-filled swamp in a rhythmic adventure glowing with sun-dappled art.

Virginnie is a freckly gal who wears a wide straw hat to shade her from the southern sun. When a puff of wind sends that hat adrift in the swamp — right to the top of a sycamore tree — she braves some scary creatures to get it back!

Overview

A plucky girl chases her hat through a critter-filled swamp in a rhythmic adventure glowing with sun-dappled art.

Virginnie is a freckly gal who wears a wide straw hat to shade her from the southern sun. When a puff of wind sends that hat adrift in the swamp — right to the top of a sycamore tree — she braves some scary creatures to get it back! Crawdaddy craw, snickery snake, swaying gator. . . . What will she tell her mama at the end of the day? Lilting language and expressive collages paint a lush, lively picture of a determined young girl and her dauntless adventure.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Lilting rhymes tell the tale of Virginnie's adventures in the swamp as she tries to free her new hat from where it is stuck in the branches of a tall sycamore tree. As she first throws one boot up at her hat, then the other, in "yee-haw flight," to try to dislodge it. First a "crawdaddy-craw," then a "snickery snake," and finally a gator, all hungrily eye Virginnie's toes. Oblivious to the danger, and to the effect the falling-back-down boots have had, Virginnie is delighted when a tossed boot finally knocks her hat back to her. What does frighten her is a nearby step, which turns out to be her apprehensive mother. "The only scary thing was you!" notes the blissfully ignorant, delightful Virginnie. Meade combines watercolor washes with collage elements to suggest the swampy setting while focusing on the action. The end-papers show the treetops; the title pages introduce the hat, which we see being tossed up into the tree on the jacket/cover. Virginnie is a determined heroine, too focused on her hat to notice the properly frightening critters. The climactic double page showing the hat returned to her head with a large "YEE-HAW!" offers a satisfying conclusion.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2 - Virginnie is a carefree bayou gal. When her wide-brimmed hat is blown into the branches of a tall tree, she attempts to knock it down by throwing her boots at it. But while she is concentrating on her mission, some swamp critters are focused on biting her sweet little toes. Luckily for her, the crawdaddy, snake, and gator are foiled as her shoes tumble back down to shoo them away. The child retrieves her hat just as her mother comes to take her out of danger. While Chaconas's rhyme is clever, the story is slight. Meade's watercolor-and-collage paintings are as light and breezy as Virginnie's mood, and the creatures that threaten to snap at her toes are not too scary. Full spreads with the girl looking toward the right while swamp denizens sneak up behind her from the left move the action forward. An additional purchase.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Illustrations outshine text in this tale of thwarted predation. When Virginnie loses her hat to a gust of wind, it gets stuck in a tree, much to its owner's frustration. She takes off one boot, then the other, to throw them into the tree and dislodge the hat. Unbeknownst to Virginnie, however, first a crayfish, then a snake, then an alligator each decide to snack on her toes, only to be driven off when an airborne boot comes crashing down on them. The conceit is quite clever, and the illustrations are divine: Meade's watercolor collage images make the most of the liquid nature of the medium, the blurring colors evoking the swamp with mastery, and Virginnie (and her toes) rendered to exude vigor and personality. Chaconas's faux-folksy verse text, however, strains at times to maintain scansion and rhyme, resulting in an awkward read-aloud that does not do justice either to story or to illustrations. Countrified expressions-"yee-haw!" and elided g's at the ends of most, but not all, participles-seem artificially imposed rather than rising naturally from the text. A cryin' shame. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763623975
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
04/24/2007
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,348,007
Product dimensions:
8.62(w) x 11.32(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Dori Chaconas learned story pacing from an early age while entertaining her younger siblings. The author of such picture books as ON A WINTRY MORNING, ONE LITTLE MOUSE, and MOMMA, WILL YOU?, she lives in Germantown, Wisconsin.

Holly Meade (1956-2013) wrote and illustrated IF I NEVER FOREVER ENDEAVOR. She earned a Caldecott Honor for her illustrations in HUSH! A THAI LULLABY by Minfong Ho. She also illustrated AND THEN COMES HALLOWEEN by Tom Brenner; ON THE FARM, IN THE WILD, and IN THE SEA by David Elliott; and many others.

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