In the world, there are really special people. There are also really special authors, really special illustrators, and really special books. In my opinion, magic happens when all of these combine into one really amazing book.
Mike Wu is one of those authors for me. Not only is he an extremely talented illustrator and author, but he is also a really kind person.
To me, those are the people that make the best children's books. They have the heart for kids and the passion of spreading the love of reading through their books.
Mike Wu's books have brought so much joy to my children and me when we read these books together, and that is why I am so honored to help share his new book, Henri’s Hats.
In his new book, Henri’s Hats, the Mike Wu magic is at his best.
Henri’s Hats tells the story of a little boy named Henri. Henri is on his way to visit his Grand-Papa. Henri is upset because he barely knows his grandfather, and he is not super excited about having to spend the day at his house.
Henri lack of excitement for his trip continues once he arrives at Grand-Papa's house. That is until he finds a case of old hats in his Grand-Papa’s attic. It is an old, dusty trunk but inside there are hats of all kinds and sources.
In an instant, Henri’s imagination goes into full force and he is transported into all sorts of exotic places and experiences. With a red helmet, Henri finds himself transported into a Grand Prix race and seconds away from the finish line. In a flash, he is wearing a scuba diver's helmet and is exploring the bottom of the ocean only to find himself face-to-face with a shark.
While in the midst of taming wild circus animals in a ring master's hat, Henri's imagination is halted when his Grand-Papa walks into the attic.
Henri is instantly scared that he is going to get in trouble for playing with his Grand-Papa's hats. Instead, Grand-Papa grabs a hold of the ring master's hat and joins Henri in his imaginary world.
Through their time together, Henri learns that his Grand-Papa is not just an old, quiet, and shy old man. Instead, he is an explorer who has held some of the most amazing jobs and has had a lifetime of ultimate adventures.
Now that Papa’s adventures are behind him, Henri realizes that his adventures are out there and still before him. Maybe just maybe, Henri will be the one to achieve the last ultimate adventure that both Henri and his Papa have both dreamed about.
The message within Henri’s Hats is what I just absolutely adore about this book. I love seeing the relationship within two generations flourish and build in this story. The connection between Henri and his Papa is instilled within the idea of life and having as many adventures as possible. I think this is a message everyone of all ages can appreciate and understand as we all wish to have a lifetime of adventures.
The illustrations in Henri’s Hats are where Mike Wu shines. I absolutely adore how Mike Wu utilized a beautiful water-color approach throughout the entire story. It makes each illustration soft and just absolutely stunning. You can definitely see why Mike Wu is employed by Pixar Animation Studios. His artistic talents have the magical Disney touch.
Look closely, and you may just see another one of Mike Wu’s characters, Ellie, throughout his illustrations within Henri’s Hats. My daughter and I are huge Ellie fans, and she was the one to notice a hidden glimpse of our beloved elephant friend.
Without a doubt, I recommend Henri's Hats to all my reading friends. This book will go down as one of my favorite picture books of the year. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to review not only a great children's book, but also help spread the word about the uber talented author and illustrator, Mike Wu!