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Magritte's Marvelous Hat

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  415 ratings  ·  117 reviews
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see." —Rene Magritte

D.B. Johnson writes andillustrates the surreal story of famous surrealist painter Rene Magritte and his very mysterious (and mischievous!) hat. While the art reflects some of Magritte's own work, the text sets readers on a fun and accessible path to learning about th
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Inspired by the imaginative artwork of Belgian artist Rene Magritte, the author/illustrator recreates his world and considers how he might have been inspired to paint ordinary objects in unusual ways. The use of four double-sided overlays helps readers understand the artist's vision. In this story, the inspiration for Magritte's work is a floating hat he purchases. Because the hat is so playful, Magritte spends many hours chasing after it, and his painting becomes more inspired by his adventures ...more
Inspired by the work of surrealist painter, Rene Magritte, D.B. Johnson creates a visually entertaining story of Magritte, a dog and painter, and his marvelous floating hat. Readers will enjoy combing through the illustrations over and over to find the illusions and hidden images.
Jessica Harrison
Review via Cracking the Cover

Rene Magritte is known for his surrealist paintings. He was also known for a bowler hat.

In “Magritte’s Marvelous Hat,” author/illustrator D.B. Johnson brings Magritte to life in the form of a dog. One day, Magritte sees a marvelous hat in a store window. He tries on the hat and it just pops up and floats above his head, and that’s just the way she likes it. Magritte hurries home and finds that painting has become easy — his hat is amazing!

The next day Magritte goes f
Feb 11, 2013 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an unusual, but entertaining book about the artist René Magritte. We've been reading lots of books about artists recently (in conjunction with the January 2013 Books About Artists discussion in the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.) This book wasn't part of that discussion, but I doubt I would have found it if we hadn't read Dinner at Magritte's.

This book features a cartoon dog in place of the actual man, and his more famous paintings are highlighted in s
I am of two minds about this one. On the one hand, while the story is pretty straightforward, there are so many things to notice in the pictures, and certainly a lot of references to actual Magritte paintings, and the plastic overlays work well with the invitation to look closer.

On the other hand, it seems to me that Magritte's art doesn't really need to be mediated for children...there's so much that is accessible to them (recognizable objects--hats, eggs, clouds, umbrellas, apples) and they o
Tina Rae
Honestly I think I just love children's books a little more than a twenty year old should, haha. But something about this one just didn't strike me as completely fabulous. I liked the story and I liked its message and I LOVED how some of the pages were see through so when you turned the page, it changed the scene on the previous page. (Yes, I'm a nerd and I love things like that.) But something about the story just didn't strike me as completely fabulous. It's a great children's story but I don' ...more
I was looking for a book for storytime, and this book definitely didn't fit what I was looking at. I don't think the preschool crowd would follow what was going on. Maybe a school-age, who would also appreciate the pictures more. However, I've never been the biggest fan of surrealism. At least, not in art. Never fully got it. But I can appreciate it and there is plenty in this book that will get the reader, especially kids, to have to look twice. Maybe more. For there is much to see that is not ...more
Haley Altizer
Magritte's Marvelous Hat, written by D.B. Johnson tells story of a dog named Magritte and how one day he finds the perfect hat for him. Throughout the book the hat and Magritte play games and pictures together. Without his hat Magritte felt as though he could not paint well, but when he had his hat his paintings kept getting better and better. Although, there was one thing special about the hat, it did not sit on his, it floated above it.
The illustrations in the book were truly amazing to me. I
Josh Sonii
This books starts of with a dog named Magritte seeing a nice hat in the window. He tried it on and it just floated above his head. Magritte loved it so he left, but the hat maker told him that it would blow away. Magritte walked all the way home and it did not go anywhere. He loved his hat so he ran home to draw a picture and it was his best picture yet. One day he went on walk with the hat and people laughed when they saw it. The hat wanted to play so it decided to fly into the fountain and Mag ...more
Magritte's hat is in fact an illustrated picture book story about Rene Magritte the famous surrealist artist. The interesting twist is the characters are not people, they are dogs. The use of transparent overlay pages give readers a fun way to interact with the illustrations. The illustrations themselves brought some of Magritte's famous works of art to life, all while following a dog, who is following a hat through the story. Great book to introduce students to the artist.
Dichotomy Girl
"Read it. It was about Magritte. He got paint splashed in his face. That's it. I would hug you when you read the book"

(My 3 1/2 year old's review in her own words)
Totally awesome book about Magritte (as a dog) using clear overlay pages and visual tricks to get at some of his most famous surrealist motifs (especially the hat). So much to look at here; I'm sure I didn't see all of it. Don't miss this clever book!

A good review and book trailer is here:
What a great book this is! I can't wait to use this for story class next time. It's such a great combination: teaching kids about an artist while entertaining them with a fun story with cool overlay pages! UPDATE: Dennis Johnson was on a panel at SLJ's Day of Dialog in June so I was able to get him to sign this book for me. How very cool is that?
Magritte the painter-dog finds a hat that he loves. It doesn't muss his hair or pinch his ears because it floats above his head! Magritte also learns that it makes him a better painter, too. However, when the hat goes missing one day Magritte finds he cannot paint at all. Off he goes to find his hat. But the hat is hiding from him. Well, two can play that game. The hat finds Magritte back at home and this time lands on his head.

Children will enjoy the plastic double sided pages that change the p
For the kids: A wonderful introduction to Rene Magritte's work and surrealism. We had a great time comparing the book to Magritte's paintings.
A beautiful and fascinating picture book about a dog painter, loosely based on the artist Rene Magritte. The story follows Magritte as he buys a hat that floats and moves on its own, is inspired to paint because of the hat, loses the hat, and is eventually reunited with the hat. The story itself is perfectly fine - nothing extraordinary, but enjoyable and sometimes quite clever. But this book gets its stars from the illustrations and the super fun transparent overlays. Every single illustration ...more
I thought this book was wonderful. Wonderful. So much to look at and the story was cute. This book is about Magritte, but it's also about putting that creative hat on. It's a great introduction book to surrealism.

The book was a lot like this Magritte painting.
magritte photo: ManRain magritte1.jpg
2013 ALSC Notable Winners

Johnson, D B. Magritte's Marvelous Hat: A Picture Book. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012. Print. 32 p.

Using computer generated illustrations the author has developed a playful, dreamlike picture book for young readers. Presented on round-edged pages, the story introduces children to surrealism. Magritte, the dog, gets a new hat which floats above his head and helps him to paint. Upon walking around town, the curious scenes are reminiscent of classic surr
Laura Smith
One of those fantastic picture books that even older kids and adults will love. A fabulous fictional journey of the surrealist Magritte and his famed hat as they look at the world with fresh eyes. Incredible illustrations showcasing Magritte's ideas that will educate readers of all ages about this famous painter and about how to look at the world with a fresh lens.
Caryn Caldwell
In this surrealistic romp, the author reimagines Belgian painter Rene Magritte as a dapper dog. When Magritte buys a floating bowler hat in a shop, he discovers that he can now paint better than ever before. The hat is playful and wants to explore Magritte's world with him, but as Magritte grows more enamored of his painting, he ignores the hat. When the hat retaliates by flying off, Magritte finds he can no longer paint the way he used to. How will this artist continue to create without his mus ...more
Anne Broyles
This fun story is not so much a biography of the artist, but an experience of surrealistic art in a fun story about Magritte (as a dog). Transparent pages show how quickly artistic perspective can be transformed.

An Author's Note explains surrealism, and gives more info on Magritte and other surrealists.
Ms Threlkeld
I admit to being a tad biased since Magritte is my favorite painter, but this is a magnificent introduction to the artist and the author nailed Magritte's style and unique POV with his illustrations. Very creative and engaging boook that will mesmerize kids.
Rebecca Wendel
My boys and I read the Author's Note at the end of the book. From there we looked up some photos online of Rene Magritte's work and briefly talked about surrealism. I enjoyed this unexpected "art" moment (something that happens rarely in our home).
Sara-elizabeth Cottrell
Whimsy in words and pictures- at the end, my 2-year-old exclaims, "Again! Again!" She goes on about the hat floating away, settling on his head, "THERE'S HIS HAT!!" And then takes it to bed with her.
So, five stars from the toddler in this house.
Super cute! So glad I bought this book for my library. The illustrations are adorable and it would be a fun book to use in an art lesson about surrealism. A little worried about how long the transparent pages will last before kids wreck them though. :-p
Magritte was one of a group known as "surrealists" . Free thinkers, not just painters, but poets, photographers, filmmakers, and musicians. Magritte pushed the boundaries of art by painting both what was "there" and what was" not there" his famous painting of the floating hat is obviously the inspiration for this fanciful book.
It is filled with lovely surprises, both verbal and visual. Ordinary objects find themselves in extraordinary places, and often disappear when they arent supposed to.
What a great find on the New Picture Books shelf at the library. This book is just plain cool. I don't know much about Magritte or his artwork, so my son and I enjoyed this simply as a picture book. The surrealist artwork provides so much to point to and talk about on each page. My 22-month-old son's favorite game right now is "That's not a hat!" so it was fun to have an actual hat to look for throughout this book. The fancy clear overlays that interact with the regular pages were pretty cool, t ...more
Miss Sarah
about a painter who gets a new hat and paints much better with his hat than ever before but his hat just won't stay on his head. He gets mad at the hat and the hat leaves. Friendship themes as well.
Cindy Minnich
I could see my high school students really appreciating the way this is put together - especially if they are already familiar with Magritte's artwork. I'm going to re-read this for all the visual allusions.
I thought it was very original and I liked the illustrations, but my son hated it with a passion, he usually does not care what rating we give a book, but with this one he was insistent to give it a zero.
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