Ok, so I know it's a picture book, I know both the author and illustrator are not from the United States, but since it's 2013 and Karen and I have switched it up a bit, I'm posting about Mr. Zinger's Hat by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Dusan Petricic. I read it yesterday after seeing the reviews in School Library Journal and it has quickly moved into one of my favorite books EVER!
Leo is a boy who spends his days bouncing his ball of a wall and watching Mr. Zinger walk laps around the building. He is intrigued by Mr. Zinger, maybe a little bit scared, and his mom tells him to leave Mr. Zinger alone, he is a story teller and he's making up stories as he walks. On a windy day, Leo's ball knocks Mr. Zinger's hat off and it blows away and Leo chases it down.
The old man and the boy sit on a bench and Mr. Zinger begins to weave a story stopping to ask Leo questions about the plot, characters, setting and filling in with whatever Leo "finds" in his hat or asking more questions to get more details, Leo always looking into Mr. Zinger's hat for the answers. In the end the old man goes to rest and on another day, Leo meets a friend, Sophie and he begins to pull a story from his hat with Sophie filling in the details.
I LOVE this book! The possibilities for read aloud are wonderful and the possibilities in the classroom are endless. What a great tool for encouraging reluctant writers to pull the details from their "hats" to make their stories even better. I LOVE THIS BOOK!