Mr McGee and his hat by Pamela Allen

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In her ninetieth year and the author of over fifty books, comes this appealing new story about Mr McGee, one of the most recognisable characters in Australian children’s literature.

Mr McGee is getting out of bed, getting ready to play. He pulls on his trousers, and socks and his shoes. And lastly his hat. Just as he finishes breakfast, a strong wind blows up. It blows and blows. Mr McGee and all his belongings are spinning in the air. When it suddenly stops, everything falls back to earth, the cat falling on the hat. Mr McGee falls through the tree, along with his bed and his chairs and table. But where is his hat? He searches high and he searches low, he asks the cow and peers into the trees, and even the haystack. He looks everywhere. Disheartened he goes to bed without playing for that day. 

He takes off his clothes and looks over to the cat as it gets up from its bed. And there is the hat! Everyone gets to bed, the cat on the end of the bed, while Mr McGee wears his hat.

Another endearing book from Pamela Allen, this will be one that children ask for it to be read over and over. They will love predicting the rhyming word at the end of each pair of lines, and join in themselves when the book becomes well known.  

They will laugh along with others as Mr McGee gets out of bed his rotund self pulling on his pants and shoes.  And again when he is flying through the air, along with the other things from his bedroom. Each of these pages flows from one page to the next, the movement involving the children as they sway with the wind. The search for the hat takes up all of his play time, and when Mr McGee finally gets to bed, the hat suddenly appears from under the cat. 

Children will love this tale of the hat, enjoying the symmetry of the story, watching the antics of the cat and Mr McGee, looking at the detail on each page, the things around Mr McGee on his little farm. I loved looking over and over at the images of the tumbling cat. It is a beautiful image. And I loved the peeks at Mr McGee’s ample body,  and the restfulness of the last page, when all is quiet and the mystery solved. 

Themes: Mr McGee, Mystery, Hats, Peace, Searching, Humour, Verse.

Fran Knight