First, the facts:
Title: Henry’s Hat
Author: Eric and Joanna Johnson
Illustrator: Eric Johnson
Published by: Slate Falls Press, 2016
Type: Children’s book
The In-Depth Look:
They never fail to amaze me.
This is the fourth picture-slash-knitting book by this talented couple. Together they write the story, and then Joanna designs the knitwear and Eric does the illustrations … all before publishing the book themselves. Even if the book were terrible, it would be an impressive achievement.
But, of course, the book is anything but terrible–it’s wonderful, just as I expected when my review copy arrived.
The story, telling about chipmunk Henry’s favorite hat being lost, is sweet and gentle, the kind of story I loved as a child. Henry lives in a bustling family and the story thrums with that kind of chaotic energy a houseful of children and adults can create.
The illustrations aren’t just background to the story, either–they have their own energy, driven by detail and enthusiasm. I love Eric’s pictures, and they’ve blown me away in every book in this series. Not only is each different animal drawn with loving detail (and I do love how there is a mix of animals, here, with everyone mingling and getting along), but there are great little notes to catch your attention when you look–like the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving print hanging on the wall, or the grasshopper (later seen outside in the cold like in the fable) playing the world’s smallest violin when Henry discovers the fate of his hat.
Last but not least are the knitting patterns, three in all. Henry’s Hat, Henry’s Letter Sweater, and a Henry-the-Chipmunk doll. They’re all good patterns–the hat is quick and stylish, warm with earflaps and suitable for boys or girls. The letter sweater is a traditional raglan with stripes and a bold initial. And the doll, of course–a 3D representation of Henry himself, complete with jeans and a sweater.
I love this series. I hope Joanna and Eric never stop.
This review copy was kindly donated by Joanna Johnson. Thank you!
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