The Magic Hat

by Mem Fox (Author) Tricia Tusa (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

One fine day, from out of town--and without any warning at all--a magic hat appears in the sky.

It tumbles and bounces through the air and makes magic wherever it lands. Everyone is delighted as, one by one, the townspeople are transformed into giant playful animals. And then a wizard arrives. . . .

With irresistible rhyming language and bright, whimsical illustrations, this perfect read-aloud by internationally acclaimed author Mem Fox will weave its way into the hearts of young children everywhere.

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Publisher's Weekly

The titular topper of this rollicking, rhyming read-aloud is indeed magic: when it blows into town one day, it plops down on the head of resident after resident, instantly transforming each person into an animal. Each time the chapeau lands, Fox (Time for Bed) reprises the refrain, "Oh, the magic hat, the magic hat! It moved like this, it moved like that! It spun through the air!" At this point the author inserts a varying line (e.g., "Like a bounding balloon"; "For a mile and a half"), and a flip of the page reveals what animal the new hat-wearer becomes (in the above instances, a baboon and a giraffe). Kids will eagerly join in the guessing game, which Tusa's (Camilla's New Hairdo) fittingly silly, bustling ink-and-watercolor illustrations whip up into high-octane action. Her clever details add to the clues; for instance, a fruit-stand seller juggles bananas as the hat transforms him into a baboon. A supporting cast of animated children witness the zany goings-on, reacting gleefully to each transformation. These characters' unbridled enjoyment will almost certainly evoke the same response from readers. Ages 3-7.

Copyright 2002 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3-A whirling, magical hat sweeps into a bustling park, transforming each adult on whom it alights into a fun-loving animal. Rhymed verses add to the humor and allow listeners to predict what will follow as the page turns. A group of delighted children takes up the path of the hat's swirling confetti, until, at last, a large, but impish wizard appears. He restores the characters to their former selves and leaves a large, spotted egg that hatches, distracting the crowd as he turns to leave. But that's not the end. Donning the hat himself, the wizard becomes a high-spirited boy, framed by starlight, kicking up sparkles. Tusa's ink-and-watercolor images dance with life (even the flowers seem to be in motion); kinetic, double-page designs spill off the pages. Add this to your favorite headpiece storytime. Children will be bursting to participate.

Copyright 2002 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.


This giddy, rhymed episode . . . . will have children demanding repeated readings and completing each verse at top volume.

Review quotes

Mem Fox
MEM FOX is the author of many acclaimed picture books, including Possum Magic, Koala Lou, and Time for Bed. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

TRICIA TUSA has illustrated several picture books, including her own Maebelle's Suitcase; Camilla's New Hairdo, a Parents Magazine Best Book; and Bunnies in My Head, which features drawings by the young patients at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. She lives in Houston, Texas.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
May 01, 2006
BISAC categories
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
Library of Congress categories

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