The illustrations for Brimsby's Hats, the debut picture book from Andrew Prahin, drew me in immediately. At once very much like the style you might find in a graphic novel or animated cartoon, Prahin's illustrations are also cozily charming with an wonderful color palette that changes with the emotional tone of the story and is a bit out of the ordinary for picture books. Brimsby's Hats is a visual delight and the story that Prahin weaves for his characters is equally engaging and entertaining and just the tiniest bit somberly ruminative.
Brimsby is a hat maker who seems to be as fond of his friend Badger as he is of making hats.
While Brimsby sends hats all over the world, Badger has dreams of seeing the world and sailing the seas. When Badger sets sail, Brimsby's life becomes increasingly circumspect and lonely. Prahin conveys this growing feeling over the course of sequential illustrations that further call to mind the graphic novel style of story telling and at a pace that really allows the reader to feel what Brimsby is feeling. In the absence of his friend Badger, Brimsby's lonely life is seen repeating itself quietly across the illustration spreads, over and over, as the seasons change.
When the hat maker realizes just how lonely he has become he sets out on a walk, hoping to make new friends. Trudging through the snow, Brimsby comes upon a treeful of shivering birds shoveling snow out of their nests. They are so hard at work that they don't even notice Brimsby, who heads back home across the blanketed fields.
As he walks back home, Brimsby has an idea that opens up the world to him in more ways than one...
Brimsby's Hats is a joy to read, over and over, and I can't wait to see what Andrew Prahin does next!
Source: Review Copy