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When Everybody Wore a Hat (Junior Library Guild Selection) Hardcover – April 15, 2003


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When Everybody Wore a Hat (Junior Library Guild Selection) + Dominic + Abel's Island (Newbery Award & Honor Books)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 240L (What's this?)
  • Series: Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl; 1st edition (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060097000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060097004
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1 Up-In 1916, Steig was eight years old. This autobiography describes that year of his life. The somewhat disjointed recollections are recounted in a stream-of-consciousness style and will evoke nostalgia in adults and surprise in children-fire engines pulled by horses, five-cent movies and hot dogs, no TV, a wind-up phonograph. Like elementary school drawings taped to the refrigerator, the childlike, watercolor artwork that accompanies the memories features flattened tables, nostrils on the sides of noses, and a sidewalk extending up into the air. Yet the illustrations' na‹vet‚ belies their underlying sophistication. With a few spare lines, the artist manages to convey body language, facial expression, and gesture. For example, the picture of young Steig clinging to his sister as his parents fight is poignant; the eyes may be simple dots inside ovals, but they convey worlds of information about the children's anxiety. There were upbeat times for the family as well, in spite of the ongoing World War I. Steig reveals his childhood crush, daily activities, and dreams for the future. Black-and-white photos of the author on the first and last pages (one as a child and one as he appears now) and the cover art (front and back views of a youngster in a hat) bring this reminiscence full circle. Given the subject matter and lack of plot, this book seems aimed at Steig's adult fans.
Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. Steig's picture-book memoir of his immigrant childhood in the Bronx nearly 100 years ago may appeal more to adults than to kids, but as always with this master artist, there's no wistful nostalgia. The words are spare, just a line on each page. The wonderfully expressive, full-page pictures, with thick black lines and bright watercolors in shades of green and red, bring the past right here, with a wry, visceral sense of the kid's viewpoint. The adults are ridiculous (including the overdressed women with their corsets and heels and hats, "sometimes with fruit") or sad (the boy watching helplessly while his mother weeps about sad news from the Old Country), always distant. Steig remembers the longing for privacy ("it was impossible to be alone"). And yes, there was a war on-- World War I. The hats are of the times, but the experience of the small child in a world of overpowering and weird grown-ups hasn't changed. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, and received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (978-1416902065) in 1970. His works also include The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book, and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. His most recent books published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux are Shrek! (released by DreamWorks as a major motion picture) and Wizzil, illustrated by Quentin Blake. School Library Journal named Shrek! a Best Book of 1990 and said of it, "Steig's inimitable wit and artistic dash have never been sharper or more expertly blended."

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The book was easy to read.
Melissa Sack
As a teacher of primary grades, I find this book to be very enjoyable and informative as a tool for motivating young children to learn about the past.
Carol D. Nastasi
I loved this little book, it's great quality and nice pictures.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on May 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"In 1916, when I was eight years old, there were almost no electric lights, cars or telephones-and definitely no TV. Even fire engines were pulled by horses. Kids went to LIBRARIES for books. There were lots of immigrants..." William Steig takes the reader back to the simpler times of his childhood when mother bought her meat at the butchers, boys didn't play with girls, a nickel could buy you a hot dog, a pound of fruit, or a day at the movies, you didn't go to the doctor's office, the doctor came to your house, everyone wanted to have his picture taken on a horse, and everybody wore a hat. "There was no such thing as a hatless human being." Written as if by an eight year old, Mr Steig's remembrances are sometimes poignant and always heartwarming and complemented by his marvelous, expressive childlike illustrations. Adults will revel in all the nostagia, and kids will be intrigued by how different life was at the beginning of the last century. When Everybody Wore A Hat is a charming slice of history, best read together and shared, that will whet the appetite, open interesting discussions, and send youngsters out looking for more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Preston McClear, Author The Boy Under the Bed on April 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When Everybody Wore A Hat, written and illustrated by William Steig, is an affectionate and touching tribute to the author's childhood in the Bronx. William Steig is in his nineties. He begins his reflections by writing, "This is the story of when I was a boy, almost 100 years ago, when fire engines were pulled by horses, boys did not play with girls, kids went to libraries for books, there was no TV, you could see a movie for a nickel, and everybody wore a hat." It dawned on me after reading this story that the children of today wouldn't have the slightest inkling of the world William Steig grew up in. Having had a 104 year old great grand father to tell me stories of what the world was once like I simply took the idea for granted. When Everybody Wore A Hat is a grand way to introduce children to what the world once was like. The illustrations are childlike and convey a sense of longing and nostalgia. William Steig has created out of his own memories a profoundly moving and beautiful tribute to his childhood and the world of once was.
Preston McClear, malibubooks.com
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ilana Waters on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I didn't realize at first that this was actually the author describing his boyhood. As someone obsessed with the historical (especially turn-of-the-century immigrant experiences), I fell in love with the book. I think it's a great way to show kids how things were done in the past. As for the review that describes it as "disjointed," well, not every book has a beginning-middle-end. This was more like one-page vignettes. Think of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. Irish-immigrant story for much older readers, but same concept. No overall narrative thread, just a fascinating glimpse into yesteryear.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Preston McClear, Author The Boy Under the Bed on April 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When Everybody Wore A Hat, written and illustrated by William Steig, is an affectionate and touching tribute to the author's childhood in the Bronx. William Steig is in his nineties. He begins his reflections by writing, "This is the story of when I was a boy, almost 100 years ago, when fire engines were pulled by horses, boys did not play with girls, kids went to libraries for books, there was no TV, you could see a movie for a nickel, and everybody wore a hat." It dawned on me after reading this story that the children of today wouldn't have the slightest inkling of the world William Steig grew up in. Having had a 104 year old great grand father to tell me stories of what the world was once like I simply took the idea for granted. When Everybody Wore A Hat is a grand way to introduce children to what the world once was like. The illustrations are childlike and convey a sense of longing and nostalgia. William Steig has created out of his own memories a profoundly moving and beautiful tribute to his childhood and the world of once was.
Preston McClear,
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By Molly Carlisle on April 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The 95-year-old master behind Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Pete's a Pizza has created a quirky and charming history lesson using tidbits from his boyhood in the Bronx. Kids will be fascinated to learn that, when the author was a boy, horses were the main mode of transportation, there was no television, and, "A nickel was money." Steig has enlisted very talented artists to illustrate his last several books, but it's wonderful to see him back at the drawing board here. The pictures, softer and more fluid than in the past, capture the deep affection Steig has for his own childhood memories and for children in general.
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