Identifying Core Underlying Themes
By Sharon Giltrow
Core underlying themes help readers to connect to a story, they are the threads that weave a story together. The threads that pull your main character, and the reader through the story. A thread that the reader can relate to.
In Aussie author Kitty Black’s story MR BAT WANTS A HAT, the core underlying theme is empathy. When the main character Mr Bat wants a hat, he takes it from a baby, and the baby cries. Mr Bat realises that his actions have made the baby sad, so he gives the hat back.
The reader can see Mr Bat developing empathy. They can relate to this and make a link to their own world. This social and emotional learning, is cleverly done through the use of humour. Allowing the reader to ‘learn’ in a fun, non-didactic way.
Mr Bat Wants a Hat
Written by: Kitty Black
Illustrated by: Laura Wood
Published by: New Frontier Publishing, May 2021
Mr Bat is missing something. Something important. A HAT! He WANTS A HAT! Soon he finds the perfect pink hat with pretty roses and covered in GLITTER. But this hat belongs to someone else... Which doesn't bother him AT ALL. Or does it?
Let’s see how Kitty uses humour in MR BAT WANTS A HAT to develop children’s social and emotional literacy. Here are two of Kitty’s favourite spreads and her reasons for choosing them.
K- “As if putting a Bat in a hat wasn’t funny enough, here we have Mr Bat trying on a range of headgear and ultimately exploding with delight.”
Here the reader can clearly see what Mr Bat wants – a hat, and how badly he wants it. Even though the hat he wants does not belong to him. Young children often want something that someone else has.
K- “This sequence is so much fun! The sneakiness of Mr Bat’s narrowed eyes makes me laugh, and kids always crack up at the hint of batty bottom included in the illustration.”
Here the children can see how Mr Bat gets what he wants, and how happy he is about it.
The story continues...
until, Mr Bat develops empathy.
Great job, Kitty!
Here are some other common underlying themes that weave through many stories…family, facing fears, friendships, loss, moving, emotions, starting school, overcoming difficulties, fitting in, loving and caring for pets, creativity.
What is the underlying theme of your story? I would love to know.
Well, that’s it from me this month, see you in November, with another great Aussie book.
Share a laugh, and connect with someone today.
For a chance to win a copy of MR BAT WANTS A HAT,
Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, two children and a tiny dog. Sharon has taught for all of her career. Previously a teacher of children who are hearing impaired and Deaf-Blind, she now teaches young children with Developmental Language Disorder. Her humorous debut PB, BEDTIME DADDY! released May 2020 through EK books. Sharon’s humorous follow up PB, GET READY, MAMA! Is due to be released through EK books in April, 2022. Her third PB, LET’S GO SHOPPING, GRANDMA! is due to be released through Dixi Books in 2022. SAMARA RUBIN AND THE UTILITY BELT, book one in Sharon’s early MG series – THE UTILITY BELT, will be released in 2022 through Clear Fork Publishing’s new imprint &MG. Sharon is currently working on book two, TOBY KING AND THE UTILITY BELT.
10/25/2021 11:52:17 am
We all need more empathy in this world! Such a sweet funny idea for a book. Can’t wait to read it 😻
10/25/2021 04:35:51 pm
Marla we certainly do and picture books and humour is a great way to spread that message, Thanks for reading
10/26/2021 03:16:06 pm
This sounds delightful! Fun humor and an important theme.
11/2/2021 04:27:56 am
Congratulations Pam you won a copy of MR BAT WANTS A HAT :-).
10/26/2021 03:51:51 pm
Hi Pam it is a delightful book 😊
10/27/2021 05:21:51 pm
You're welcome and thanks for sharing :-).
11/2/2021 03:08:18 am
Thanks for sharing. I found a lot of interesting information here.
11/3/2021 07:40:32 am
Mr. Bat Wants A Hat sounds delightful and clever. Thanks for the review and the reminder to weave your theme neatly in the narrative.
11/11/2021 02:40:22 pm
Hey, thanks for posting amazing articles. These blogs would definitely help us keep posted.
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
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And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break