My Red Hat / Sometimes Cake

It’s an absolute joy to catch up with some recently published Walker Books picture book treats

My Red Hat
Rachel Stubbs
Walker Books

I’m sure every young child would absolutely love to have a hat such as that in Rachel Stubbs’ meditative story. Said hat is bestowed with love upon a little girl by her grandfather one day.

But this is no ordinary hat, quite the opposite; it has an enchantment all of its own for its possibilities are seemingly without limit.

It might for instance keep you warm and dry, or cool; it can serve as an artist’s subject or a drink container, you can wear it to stand out or blend in…

It’s a holder of dreams, a hider of secrets, a cover for fears; it will take its wearer to the most wonderful places far away

before bringing you right back to snuggle up on Grandfather’s lap.

In keeping with the harmony that exists between Grandfather and young child, there’s a sense of perfect harmony between Rachel Stubbs’ illustrations in her beautifully understated colour palette and her minimal text that leaves so much for readers and listeners to fill in.

Sometimes Cake
Edwina Wyatt and Tamsin Ainslie
Walker Books

Deliciously sweet but never sickly is this treat of a picture book.

It tells what happens when Audrey meets a lion carrying a purple balloon. She asks if it’s his birthday and he replies, “Sometimes, but not today.” Nonetheless, it must be someone’s birthday reasons Audrey and so they celebrate with a song and cheers.

There follow several further encounters between the two. In the next Lion brings a cake and they celebrate both Tuesdays and coconuts (for the icing). They go on to celebrate orange and yellow – Lion sporting a hat.

These celebrations appear to be a regular occurrence but then comes a change: Lion appears sans anything and announces it’s just an ordinary day.

Thereupon Audrey leaves him alone and goes off to set about preparing for a party to celebrate a perfectly ordinary day – only it isn’t for there’s Lion to celebrate and plenty more besides.

A tender reminder of the importance of being in the moment; and that being with a friend is always cause for celebration – something we’ll all endorse as we come out of lockdown. It’s full of warmth and the wonders that simple things can sometimes offer, beautifully expressed by Edwina Wyatt and equally beautifully illustrated in soft watercolours by Tamsin Ainslie.

Snuggle up with little ones and share with cake, especially on Tuesdays.

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