Monthly Archives: July 2015

Picture Book Reviews- Hooray for Hat by Brian Won

Hooray for Hat! TITLE: Hooray For Hat
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Brian Won
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
OTHER BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BY
BRIAN:

Outer Space, Bedtime Race
SYNOPSIS: A story about bad moods,
good surprises, paying it forward and
the value of friendship
WHERE HOORAY FOR HAT CAN BE PURCHASED:
Hardcover:  Hooray for Hat! (Amazon affiliate link)
Hooray for Hat (Book Depository affiliate link)
Hooray-for-Hat-Review RATING:  B+

For great character design & illustrations that tell the story
without needing words

Browny points off for the writing style which seems too
repetitive & doesn’t add to the illustration
narrative
BOOK COVER DESIGN:
The book cover design is in the style I like.  It is bright and bold in colours. It includes cool animals having fun and dancing. There is a lovely interplay between the font and the illustrations, with the animals stepping on top of the letters.

END PAGES DESIGN:
There’s not much to comment here which is a little disappointing. The design is simply horizontal coloured stripes, the same colours applied to the ‘Hooray’ font and backdrop in the front book cover design. It reminds me of a circus tent. The colours emote a sense of happiness and fun.

ILLUSTRATION STYLE COMMENTS:
The illustrations are created digitally however, Brian plays around with the line work to make it look imperfect and hand drawn. The illustrations also have the appearance of watercolour layers with splotches, splattering and a wet-in-wet look.The backdrops are white. This allows room for the writing and places the reader’s focus on the characters and their facial expressions. The white space also seems to brighten up the colours.

There are a couple of features I like and one feature not so much in the illustrations. There is a mixing up of double spreads with single illustration pages which creates variety however Brian includes two double spreads where you have to turn the book side ways. Personally, I’m not keen on this style technique as it tends to stretch the illustrations dis-proportionally and the illustrations spread into the gutter.

I do however like the technique of having a  black scribble cloud over the characters head, to show they are feeling grumpy. Wouldn’t life be so much less complex if we all had similar clouds over our heads?We would know when to stay clear of each other and thus avoid conflict. The second style technique is the character design and how simple they are in form. Each animal character can be broken down in shapes so that children can easily draw them. Nice!

WRITING STYLE COMMENTS:
Personally, the story structure and writing style didn’t grab my attention like the illustrations. I must admit I felt a little let down. The words didn’t add anything different to the story than what was expressed in the illustrations. In fact, I think this book could have been a wordless picture book except for a couple of speech bubbles saying “Go Away! I’m Grumpy!”, “Hooray for Hat!” and “Hooray for friends!”There is a lot of repetition throughout, too much to keep my interest in the story line. I did however enjoy the themes behind the story around the value of friendship and how the act of sharing and being kind leads to joy all around.

COOL LINKS:
Brian lives in the virtual world here
http://www.brianwon.com/
https://twitter.com/bwon1
https://instagram.com/bwon1/
https://facebook.com/BrianWonBooks

If you want to listen to a cool interview with Brian check out Episode 57 of the ‘Let’s Get Busy Podcast’  lgbpodcast.blogspot.com/2014/06/brianwon-ep-57.html

If you have been left with wanting more, here is an Author-Illustrator Spotlight interview with Brian on the resource hub for children’s writers and illustrators ‘KidLit 411’
http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/09/Kidlit411-Author-Illustrator-Brian-Won.html