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.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, & CBA Director Mira Reisberg PhD who is handing her Mondays over to awesome former now trad. pubbed students to widen their audience.
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.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.