When Everybody Wore a Hat

When Everybody Wore a Hat

5.0 1
by William Steig
     
 

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From William Steig:
This is the story of when I was a boy,
almost 100 years go,
when fire engines were pulled by horses,
boys did not play with girls,
kids went to libraries for books,
there was no TV,
you could see a movie for a nickel,
and everybody wore a hat.
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Overview

From William Steig:
This is the story of when I was a boy,
almost 100 years go,
when fire engines were pulled by horses,
boys did not play with girls,
kids went to libraries for books,
there was no TV,
you could see a movie for a nickel,
and everybody wore a hat.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Some guys can't seem to do anything wrong. Consider William Steig, born in 1907. It would not be unreasonable to expect, in view of his prodigious output of books for children, that he would produce a clinker now and then. Even van Gogh had his bad days. But Steig never disappoints, and his latest concoction, a witty memoir in pictures called When Everybody Wore a Hat, is especially winning. — Edward Sorel
Publishers Weekly
In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "With his signature mix of charm and directness, Steig reflects on his Bronx childhood." All ages. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Steig takes us on a nostalgic journey back to 1916, when he was eight years old. He recalls his parents arguing in four languages, the old wind-up phonograph, shopping, women's clothing, his old neighborhood, and the children's activities back then. The war in Europe and bad news from the Old Country were part of life. "A nickel was money;" you could buy a lot with it. And of course, "everybody wore a hat." In a few simple words along with his illustrations Steig paints a picture of his memories of a time in history. Like a family photo album there is no narrative flow. But the individual pictures with their very brief caption text present glimpses of a life, an autobiography in a time. Steig's colored cartoon-y drawings have lost none of their verve. His almost spontaneous black lines define the characters and their emotions along with a few props, including, of course, those hats. Perhaps this is more for adults than children. 2003, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Publishers,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1 Up-In 1916, Steig was eight years old. This autobiography describes that year of his life. The somewhat disjointed recollections are recounted in a stream-of-consciousness style and will evoke nostalgia in adults and surprise in children-fire engines pulled by horses, five-cent movies and hot dogs, no TV, a wind-up phonograph. Like elementary school drawings taped to the refrigerator, the childlike, watercolor artwork that accompanies the memories features flattened tables, nostrils on the sides of noses, and a sidewalk extending up into the air. Yet the illustrations' na vet belies their underlying sophistication. With a few spare lines, the artist manages to convey body language, facial expression, and gesture. For example, the picture of young Steig clinging to his sister as his parents fight is poignant; the eyes may be simple dots inside ovals, but they convey worlds of information about the children's anxiety. There were upbeat times for the family as well, in spite of the ongoing World War I. Steig reveals his childhood crush, daily activities, and dreams for the future. Black-and-white photos of the author on the first and last pages (one as a child and one as he appears now) and the cover art (front and back views of a youngster in a hat) bring this reminiscence full circle. Given the subject matter and lack of plot, this book seems aimed at Steig's adult fans.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Between portrait photos taken almost nine decades apart, Steig crustily introduces his Mom, his Pop, and his childhood world--a world where "there were almost no electric lights, cars or telephones--and definitely no TV." Like his prose, his cartoons are sketchy and childlike, passing with a turn of the page from a gory, imagined battlefield scene to views of the janitor�s tough-looking dog and other neighborhood pets. He barely shows or mentions siblings, friends, or his Bronx neighborhood--and even younger viewers will notice that, despite the title, many of his figures are hatless. So what will children get from this? Next to that whippersnapper James Stevenson�s When I Was Nine (1986), but still distant, generation, not much more than the bare hint that Steig, too, was young. (Picture book. 6-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060097004
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/27/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Lexile:
240L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

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