“A magic show that will excite only the youngest audience members during story time.”
Appropriately named Hattie is a magician with a magic hat. As her story begins, a black top hat is seen on a white background, with just the tips of a rabbit’s ears showing. “What do we have here?” asks the narrator. “It’s a rabbit in a hat!” comes the response, but while the illustration shows more of Hattie, she still looks like any stereotypical rabbit appearing from a magic hat. However, when Hattie makes her full appearance, wearing a bold yellow tuxedo coat, a red bow tie, and holding a magic wand, it’s clear the usual prop is in fact the master magician. As Hattie repeats her magic phrase, “Abracadabra, katakurico,” more and more animals—each larger than the one before—appear from her magic hat. First a cat appears, then a squirrel. Next, surprisingly, is an octopus. Ultimately, even an elephant is pulled from the hat. Just when it appears the hat is empty, it emits an entire jungle scene, complete with trees, bushes, sand, and most importantly, a new friend for each type of animal pulled from the hat. Kitmura’s illustrations in ink, watercolor and gouache are simple, as is the story itself, creating a magic show that will entertain very young readers—they’ll enjoy guessing what animal will appear next based on a small part of the animal showing over the brim of the hat (the squirrel’s tale, or the elephant’s trunk)—but is too basic to hold the attention of an older audience.
Magic tricks can delight readers of all ages. Which of Hattie's tricks is your favorite? Have you ever tried to learn a magic trick? Maybe your young reader will feel inspired to try after seeing Hattie's magic hat?
At the end of the story, Hattie's magic hat provides a friend for all of the animals she pulled from her hat. When has finding a new friend helped you feel happy?
Satoshi Kitamura is an award-winning children’s picture book author and illustrator. As a child, he drew constantly and devoured comics. A self-taught artist, his career began in advertising and magazines before he moved to London, where he debuted as a picture book illustrator with Hiawyn Oram’s Angry Arthur, a 1983 Mother Goose Award-winner for the Most Exciting Newcomer to British Illustration. Since then, he has illustrated over twenty of his own books, plus collaborated on many others.
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The illustrations were created with pen, ink, watercolor, and gouache.