Ten Cats Have Hats | A Best Picture Book Review

by tandemonimom

Ten Cats Have Hats is a simple counting book, and simply wonderful.

A Favorite for 15 Years!

This is one of my children's favorite books, and mine too!

Ten Cats Have Hats, by Jean Marzollo, is truly one of my all-time favorite picture books for very young children. I found this book at our local library and knew it was one I had to have on my shelf, to read any time the urge came upon me or my daughter.

Fortunately I found it when my oldest daughter was young, fifteen years ago, so I have been able to read it to all four of my children! The binding is a little loose by now, so I'll have to find a better copy when my grandchildren start coming along.

Ten Cats Have Hats

This book is only available used, which is great for your pocketbook!
Ten Cats Have Hats (Story Corner)
Scholastic Little Hippo
Only $185.21

Book Review: Ten Cats Have Hats

A picture book by Jean Marzollo, illustrated by David McPhail.

Ten Cats Have Hats is a very simple counting book. A child (who could easily be a girl or a boy, with a pageboy haircut) wanders through each page wearing a different hat while confronting and counting different animals on each page.

So on page one, "one bear has a chair, but I have a hat." Page two tells us that "two ducks have trucks, but I have a hat." The hat changes on each page, becoming appropriate to the game the child imagines with each set of items. The two ducks in trucks are being stopped by the child in a police officer's hat, while the nine snails leaving trails in the dark are closely watched by the child with a miner's lamp hat perched up top.

The story winds cheerfully up to the number ten, when the child exuberantly exclaims "ten cats have hats, just like me!" The final illustration shows the child juggling all the hats worn throughout the picture book. The joy of the child progressing through the pages with hats, animals, and imaginary playscapes is palpable and totally draws in the reader and listener.

Jean Marzollo and David McPhail

Author and Illustrator

Jean Marzollo is a children's book author with more than one hundred books to her credit, including the popular I Spy series. Her text is simple but bouncy and entertaining, and the predictability of repetition and rhyme is comforting to children.

I adore David McPhail's illustrations in this book. The bold lines and slightly chunky drawings are sophisticated while still being very accessible to children. The animals are friendly and cheerful without being anthropomorphised (given human characteristics).

Educational Games and Activites

Count the animals or items on each page.

Discuss the hat the child wears and its appropriateness for the activity on that page.

Observe how each item in a group of items is different from the others. For example, even though there are four stores with four doors, each store and each door is different.

Talk about the simple rhymes on each page. Make up similar rhymes.

Continue the story with 11 hats, 12 hats, etc; or make up a similar story with something besides hats.

Make up a skip-counting story, using two boots instead of one hat.

There is little text and it is fully supported by pictures, so this is a very good book to work on beginning reading skills. Start by letting your prereader fill in the repetitive "I have a hat." When that is mastered, pause and let her fill in the second part of the rhyme. Don't push it beyond the point of enjoyment, but this is a great prereading exercise for your young one.

Find More Great Children's Picture Book Reviews

All book reviews on this page are personal favorites of my family!
Are you looking for a great picture book? These are my personal favorites, complete with book reviews. I hope you love these books as much as my children and I do!

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Updated: 07/07/2011, tandemonimom
 
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Do You Have Someone to Read Picture Books to?


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Guest on 07/11/2011

I do, I have several nieces and a nephew to read picture books too -:)

Guest on 07/04/2011

Love a good picture book. It makes a child's eyes light up.

Book Treasures By Brenda on 07/01/2011

No, I don't have someone to read picture books to but that won't stop me!

Sylvestermouse on 06/29/2011

I am familiar with the I Spy books, but I haven't seen this book. It does sound like a great book for children. I shall add it to my book list for future grandchildren :)

CWAHM on 06/29/2011

My son got this book as gift when he was little and loved it!

Dianne on 06/27/2011

I've been tasked with putting together a basket of children's books for an expectant mother. This looks like a really good one to add to that.

Susan52 on 06/27/2011

Looks like a really good book! I love picture books and counting books, but I've never seen this one.

petunia on 06/26/2011

Our grandchildren think they have outgrown picture books, but I sneak one in on them when I can! :) Ten Cats Have Hats sounds like a fun one!

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