________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 8 . . . . December 7, 2007

cover

Bagel’s Lucky Hat.

Hector Mumbly.
San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2007.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-0-8118-4875-6.

Subject Headings:
Dogs-Fiction.
Cats-Fiction.
Outer space-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Sandi Harrison.

** /4

excerpt:

The stream led me to a vast meadow. I paddled to land, put on my damp lucky hat, and said good-bye to the [laughing] fishes. Then I met a flock of birds. They seemed so friendly so I decided to run after them. So I chased them again—and they flew away again (it went on like that for a while).

Bagel’s Lucky Hat is a meta-narrative that bounces from obscure moment to obscure moment without a fluid plot. The story Bagel tells is wildly unbelievable, which is fine, but it carries no threads that could be woven into a coherent or meaningful narrative. Instead, due to its lack of written detail, it zaps from illustrated frame to illustrated frame. It just might be the perfect book for a child with an extremely short attention span.       

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     The illustrations, which are wild, bright cartoons, make the story palatable. If the illustrations were not as bold as they are, the story would lie flat and without substance, with no saving grace. Children will adore the robots and outer space critters that adorn the pages, and they will likely pay little attention to the words that describe—rather than interact with—these pictures. Due to the story’s weak plot, images on the early pages are more lackluster than the later ones where Bagel suddenly ends up in outerspace. The illustrations are the definite focal point of this book, while the words read like an afterthought. With a little more attention and crafting to the detail of his writing and fleshing out his plots, Mumbly has the potential to be an excellent author/illustrator for children.

Recommended.

Sandi Harrison, who holds a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia, is currently a pre-service secondary English teacher at Simon Fraser University.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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