Monday, March 10, 2008

Bagel's Lucky Hat, a book by Hector Mumbly - review

Bagel's Lucky Hat, a book by Hector Mumbly
Big-eye characters. A Stimpy-eque dog. Gloopy shapes that somehow remind me of early early Disney animation and/or cartoons drawn by the very, very high (or Jim Woodring, and it's up to you to decide if those two characterizations are mutually exclusive or not). All in tones underlaid with the sepia of aged newsprint.

I think Bagel's Lucky Hat qualifies as a Weird-Ass Picture Book (TM and ® MotherReader, all hail!) on the illustrations alone... but let us not forget the story: Bagel (a dog) has lost his hat, and his sister Becky (a cat) very sensibly suggests that he mentally retrace his day's activity so that he can figure out where he lost it.

Happily for us (and to the irritation of the feet-on-the-ground Becky), Bagel's day has included: a hat ride downstream, laughing with the fishes, a trip up into the sky, borne aloft by birds, and a trip to outer space. The splash pages are worlds unto themselves. And don't think that "sepia" = "drab"... the pastel blues and pinks, and even the midnight blues in this book are a little extra-appealing because of that brownish tint.

As much as I lapped up the velvety illustrations, my four year old audience enjoyed the text, and was especially tickled by the increasing inventiveness of Bagel's story. He was also very pleased at Becky's irritated expressions and eventual comeuppance.

Once again I'm all bummed because by the time books get to me in the librarian's office, they have been processed and their dust jackets removed. I think that this "Hector Mumbly" might have something to say for himself - in fact, I suspect that he is a masquerade for a comic book artist whose adult work I might be familiar with. (Oh fer cryin' out loud, it's Dave Cooper!)

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