I Do Not Like Al's Hat

illus. by Erin McGill. 32p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Jan. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062455765. POP
PreS-Gr 2—Herb, who is Al the magician's rabbit, has had it. He relishes the spotlight, the applause, and the carrots, but his ears hurt from night after night of being pulled out of a hat. He needs a new job, but the only options seem to be pet rabbit, wild rabbit, and veggie farmer. Weighing the pros and cons (and teaching readers about decision-making in the process), Herb finds that each vocation falls short. Then—ta da!—he tries the classified ads and meets a new friend, one who, too, enjoys the spotlight, the applause, and…carrot cake. This unexpected and lovely offering that ends with a warm friendship is beautifully illustrated with McGill's expressive, whimsical collages. It lends itself to multiple storytime pairings—for farm tales with a twist, pair it with Susan Pearson's Slugs in Love; for a storytime featuring classified ads, grab this and Rachael Mortimer's The Three Billy Goats Fluff; and for unexpected friendships, read this and Phyllis Root's Toot Toot Zoom!
VERDICT What a romp! Al's loss is readers' gain when Herb goes on the lam. Sure to be a read-aloud favorite.

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