I have two daughters who couldn’t be more different. My ten-year-old loves dragons and lizards and can’t be bothered with care bears or unicorns or anything overtly girly. My seven-year-old loves bunnies and dress up and painting her toes and believes there is no such thing as too much glitter. So finding something they can both agree on is always a challenge.
But miracles do happen, and this time the miracle came in the form of a book: Escape from Hat, by Adam Kline and Brian Taylor. My girls loved this story about a boy and his luck, or lack there of, and so did I.
To use a five-dollar word (a common theme throughout the story), the illustrations by Brian Taylor are sublime. I’ll admit that the drawings are what first drew me to the story. The artwork is somehow both original and classic, adorable and fierce, and manages to perfectly capture the tone of the story as it weaves between light and witty, and darkly adventurous. The illustrations are peppered throughout the book, at just the right intervals to keep our attention without taking over the story itself – a story which strikes all the right notes.
Author Adam Kline introduces us to white rabbit Leek, who crosses paths with black cat Milikin. Leek finds himself banished to a shadowy land full of bad luck and danger. He struggles to find his way back home to his garden and his human, Cecil Bean, who begins to experience a series of unfortunate events in Leek’s absence. Along the way we meet a cast of characters including fellow outcast Morel, mouse Hamlin, and the magician Imbrolio, whose Hat plays a pivotal role.
I can’t recommend Escape from Hat enough – it’s perfect for boys and girls whether young or old, rough or tumble, sweet or cuddly. Adam Kline and Brian Taylor are coming out with a new book later this year, Lucy and the Anvil, and heck yes, I backed it on kickstarter. Can’t wait.
Have a favorite middle grade that seamlessly blends story and illustrations?
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Interested in reading Escape from Hat? Add it to your Goodreads, find it at your local library or Indie bookstore, or one of the retailers below. It’s a steal as an eBook, but well worth the cost to own in hardcover.