By Mira Reisberg
Because Antoinette Portis is one of my favorite illustrators, I decided to do another review of one of her books, The Red Hat, which on the surface is a simple story by David Teague packed full of delightful adventures with Antoinette’s powerful illustrations.
Here's a little about the story: Billy Hightower lives at the top of the tallest tower in the world, and he wants nothing more than to meet the girl in the red hat who lives at the top of the next tower over. The wind, unfortunately, has other ideas and thwarts Billy’s every attempt to communicate with the girl in the red hat—even blowing Billy and his homemade wind-surfing parachute off the tower!
Billy’s single-minded determination to meet the girl next door is totally charming. David Teague’s to-the-point sentences reflect Billy’s focus to achieve his goal, even with the use of very little dialogue, and give Antoinette free reign with her active illustrations. Every page shows Billy at a different angle, size, and perspective, doing a fantastic job of keeping the story moving and reader’s interested in Billy’s plight. The wind in this book is a character in its own right, ingenuously depicted as smooth, subtle light blue-green curling lines which are slightly raised off the page creating an additional interactive dimension to the story. Antoinette uses a limited palette of black, white, and blue, along with small splashes of red—Billy’s scarf, the girl’s hat, Billy’s dialogue against the wind, which make these elements really stand out.
Antoinette does a beautiful job bringing this story to life, expertly using point of view, a limited palette and multiple layers to delve deep into David Teague’s beautifully written, simple character-driven story or two kids in towers overcoming isolation to meet and connect.
I hope that you'll pick up and enjoy this lovely book.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy. Mondays with Mandy or Mira is now the Blogfish!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays will feature award-winning former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature reading specialist and MFA in creative writing graduate Mandy Yates has been published multiple times in Highlights Magazine.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
And 5th Mondays will feature will feature the fabulous Carl Angel, award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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