Renowned author William Steig takes us back to an earlier time when "there was no TV" in this picture book filled with reminisces about his Bronx childhood.
Beginning with a photo of young Steig climbing a tree, the author's walk down memory lane includes colorful characters and various scenes from his youth, all accompanied by the author's familiar art style. Vignettes depicting his family, neighbors and notable events reflect the upbeat times of his childhood -- like getting his first haircut ("I got my first haircut at Ditchick's Barbershop.... I got to listen to all kinds of stories") and Prince, the janitor's dog ("Kids were scared of him") -- while others are darker, such as his parents' quarrels and news of the bloody war overseas. But the book's true message lies at the end where a simple drawing of an eight-year-old Steig shows him at the beginning of a successful future, alongside a photo of "me today, without a hat."
An interesting look at kids' lives in early-1900s New York City, When Everybody Wore a Hat will resonate with Steig's fans. The author's text reads as if he's bringing up fond memories as they come to mind, while his illustrations portray a youthful playfulness. A pleasant autobiography from a legendary talent. Matt Warner