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Book Review: Henry's Hat

Andrea Sanchez

Jessica Anderson likes to design fun and quirky knitting patterns that are easy to finish. She enjoys being home with her 5 children and her supportive husband, and coffee. Lots of coffee. To find out more about her work and many adventures- in knitting and homeschooling, you can find her at: www.allinadaysfun.blogspot.com, and on Ravelry as MonkeyButtBabies.

We are huge fans of Joanna Johnson’s story and knit books in my house. When we made our cross country move a few years ago, Phoebe Mouse was our companion who made the journey so much easier because she was so excited to visit all the new yarn shops we would encounter (after a teary goodbye to our local favorites) and the book, Phoebe’s Sweater kept us entertained during the long car ride while providing lots of learning opportunities. Freddie’s Blanket was a favorite storybook when my fourth was born, and the Envelope Blanket is one of my favorite knits of all times. I just adore the pictures of my youngest two wrapped in their blanket and my midwife insisted on using it for the youngest first swaddle once he was dry. One of these days I will knit a Freddie (especially since I have the little boy overalls ready to go for my littlest). Needless to say, we are huge Slate Falls Press fans in my house and were delighted to see the newest book, Henry’s Hat. Joanna graciously sent me a review copy in the mail.

    Henry’s Hat is written by husband and wife, Eric and Joanna Johnson. The story is so sweet and the illustrations are absolutely charming. Henry is an adorable little chipmunk who has a favorite hand-knit hat. In the process of helping his family gather their winter food, his hat goes missing. He looks all over, visiting his animal friends in hopes of finding his hat. At the end of the book, there are knitting patterns to make Henry’s Hat, Henry’s Letter Sweater, and a Henry Chipmunk stuffed toy (with the sweetest little matching sweater and pants that accommodate a chipmunk tail!). I was able to see the samples in person at TNNA this past January and they are even more adorable in person. 

    My youngest was not quite as interested in the story as he was in looking at the pictures (he is only 22 months, so his attention span is rather short). His favorite part was the cat on the back cover that looks exactly like our cat, “Leonard” (he and the cat are best frenemies and his finds “cat” everywhere). The 4 year old, though, loved both the pictures and the story. This one has been in reading rotation since it arrived at our house a few weeks ago, which means she really likes it. She’s also quite captivated by the illustrations and she loves finding the “knitting animal.” The baby absolutely loves the illustrations and finding things he recognizes in them. Much like Phoebe and Freddie, Henry loves the same things that all children encounter on a daily basis: building blocks, superhero capes, and outdoors fun. 

    I think one of the most fun things about this book are finding all the hidden surprises in the pictures! I love the granny square blanket that is used to help make a tent, the play cape Henry wears with his romper pjs, the knitting animals and the little otter who is wearing one of those old-time striped bathing suits. Then, there are all the lovely knits the animals wear to their Thanksgiving feast: shawls, vests, sweaters, cardigans- such a lovely buffet of hand knits!

    If you are a fan of the Phoebe and Freddie books, you will definitely want to add Henry’s Hat to your collections. If you haven’t met the adorable animals in the Slate Falls Press books, you will definitely want to meet Henry. I cannot wait to cast on for a stuffed Henry to share with my littles. There is nothing quite like a stuffed friend to really help the story come alive. And if your little has ever lost their favorite hand knit hat, they will definitely relate to this story and enjoy it.

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