Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Red Hat

Teague, David (Author)
Portis, Antoinette (Illustrator)
Disney/Hyperion Books 2015. 36 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781423134114 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Billy Hightower “lived atop the world’s tallest building,” so high up it is above the clouds, and when it rains he stays dry. One day he witnesses another skyscraper being built, where a girl in a red hat appears on the rooftop. Billy is determined to meet her, but the wind has other plans and thwarts his attempts.

The whimsical text blends narrative storytelling with punchy verbs: “Billy swooped. He swirled. He soared toward the girl in the red hat. But just as Billy reached her … the wind swept him away.” Font sizes, colour and layout are used to great effect, with large typeface for words swallowed in the wind, red font for Billy’s speech, and cascading words to mimic the wind’s patterns across the page.

Gorgeous graphic illustrations use perspective and colour to capture both dizzying heights and the presence of the wind. The black-and-white palette is offset by a bold blue sky and splashes of red for each object Billy uses to capture the girl’s attention: a kite, a paper airplane and a blanket, as well as for key details in the storytelling. The character of the wind is captured by blue glossy swirls throughout.

In the end, Billy’s perseverance is rewarded and he makes it to the girl’s top floor apartment with her rescued hat in hand. Inside, the wind is finally quiet and their friendship begins to blossom.

  •  

    Examine the book cover and make predictions about what will happen in the story. Who is the girl and who is flying with a red blanket? How will they be a part of the story?

  •  

    Start the story over and join in choral reading with an emphasis on the recurrent passages such as, “Hi, my name is Billy Hightower. I like your hat.”

  •  

    Discuss how the colour red plays a role in moving the story forward.

  •  

    Look back on your predictions for the story. Discuss whether they turned out to be accurate or not. Predict what will happen after the last page of the story.

  •  

    Examine the book cover and make predictions about what will happen in the story. Who is the girl and who is flying with a red blanket? How will they be a part of the story?

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the characters and setting. Discuss the use of colour and how the artist shows movement through his illustrations.

  •  

    As the story is read aloud, join in choral reading with an emphasis on the recurrent passages such as, “Hi, my name is Billy Hightower. I like your hat.”

  •  Use the author’s style to create additional pages for this story.
  •  

    Compare the relationship between the boy and girl in The Red Hat and in Phileas’s Fortune by Agnes de Lestrade. Use a graphic organizer to show your results.

  • Visual Arts