Mr. Zinger’s Hat

26 Mar

13330325Mr. Zinger’s Hat, written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic (2012)

This is a wonderful picture book about storytelling.  Leo plays with his ball in the courtyard every day after school, but he dutifully ignores Mr. Zinger who walks by every afternoon wearing his black suit and hat.  Leo’s mother has told him not to disturb Mr. Zinger, because he is working.  Mr. Zinger writes stories that are published in magazines and books.  While he walks, with his head down, he is thinking.  He is making up stories.  He’s working.

However, one day Leo’s ball bounces higher than it has ever gone before and it knocks Mr. Zinger’s hat off his head.  The wind takes the hat, and lands on Leo’s head.  They sit down together on a park bench.  Mr. Zinger looks inside his hat to see if there’s a story trying to get out.  Piece by piece, word by word, the hat tells Mr. Zinger and Leo a story.  That is, Mr. Zinger asks the hat questions and Leo answers the questions until they know what the story is that was trying to escape from his hat.  When the story is told, Mr. Zinger gets up to go to write.  Leo asks if he is going to write the story they just heard from the hat; Mr. Zinger tells him no, that is Leo’s story.

The next time Leo bounces his ball to high, it is caught by a little girl who becomes Leo’s friend.  At the end of the book, Leo is showing his new friend his own hat and telling her there is a story inside it.


Cary Fagan is an award winning author.  He has written Oy, Feh, So?Ella Mae and the Wishing Stone, and Thing, Thing to name a few.  He also writes for adults.  Mr. Zinger’s Hat is the winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the IODE Jean Throop Award.


I recommend this book if:

1. You have never read any of Cary Fagan’s books.

2. You have read Cary Fagan’s books and can’t wait to read another.

3. You love picture books!

4 Responses to “Mr. Zinger’s Hat”

  1. Patricia Tilton March 26, 2014 at 7:01 PM #

    This is one unique and creative book. Must look it up. Great way to encourage kids think about storytelling.


    • Juliana Lee March 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM #

      It is. I wish I had it when I was teaching! 🙂


  2. KidLitReviews March 26, 2014 at 4:22 PM #

    What an interesting picture book. I love this idea and want to read this book. Great review. 🙂


    • Juliana Lee March 26, 2014 at 5:26 PM #

      Thanks. I’m sure you’ll like it. I’m usually pleasantly surprised by something in my library bag!


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