Phil Cummings (text), Owen Swan (illus.), Newspaper Hats, Scholastic, 1 July 2015, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781743622544
The gentle watercolour paint illustrations with pencil detail reflect the sentiments of this story. The newspaper theme is reinforced by the newspaper article end papers, the flying newspaper hats across the title page and certain key words of the text made to look like they have been cut from a newspaper. There has been great attention paid to the design of this book and this enhances the reading experience.
Georgie and her father go to visit Grandpa “behind his sky-blue door, his room full of sunshine and his collection of old newspapers stacked around him like tall city buildings”. He has photos to help him recall memories but Georgie is not sure if he remembers her.
The text is spare and carefully placed around the illustrations. There is poignancy in this exploration of aging, sharing memories and the simple things in life that matter. The style of the text and delicate pictures make this story accessible to young children as well as older students for discussion and reflection on the process of aging and the significance of some of the newspaper articles that appear on the endpapers and throughout the illustrations.
reviewed by Julie Long