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Chronicle Books

$17.99

The Upside Down Hat

By Stephen Barr ; Illustrated by Gracey Zhang
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The Little Prince meets Journey in this gorgeous, reassuring picture book fable about loss, perseverance, and finding what matters most.  What happens to a boy who has nothing but a hat? Everything. A boy ...
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"Spare narration and subtle themes of hope and dedication guide the child forward . . . Zhang's (Nigel and the Moon) characteristic style, rendered in ink, gouache, and watercolor, portray a brown-skinned cast against a vividly colored landscape of deserts, broken Grecian columns, cherry trees, and bustling open-air markets in this picture book about contentment amid loss."
—Publishers Weekly

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The Little Prince meets Journey in this gorgeous, reassuring picture book fable about loss, perseverance, and finding what matters most. 

What happens to a boy who has nothing but a hat?

Everything.

A boy wakes up one morning and finds that everything he owns has gone missing. With nothing but a simple green hat, the boy journeys through distant landscapes, searching high and low for the things he has lost. Along the way he discovers that perhaps everything he needs has been sitting on his head all along.

Stephen Barr makes his debut in this achingly poignant and deeply profound fable of one boy’s adventure to recover his life’s treasures. With vibrant illustrations by Gracey Zhang and a subtle message about hopeful perseverance, this book is an exquisite, emotional journey through loss, persistence, and finding the most important thing in life: oneself. 

TIMELESS PICTURE BOOK: Deeply reflective, sparingly written, and beautifully illustrated, this tale will strike a chord with its poignant storytelling. It’s a picture book for any reader, of any age, at any time.

A FABLE FOR THE AGES: Reminiscent of the stories of Aesop’s Fables, this book touches on universal themes of the human condition and shares a heartfelt message that is effortless but hopeful. Readers will come away thinking differently about what they own, what they need, and what they hold most dear.

NEW VOICE IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Debut author Stephen Barr brings years of experience working with authors as a literary agent to craft this gem of a picture book that will resonate with fans of classic children’s stories.

IMMERSIVE ILLUSTRATION: Gracey Zhang’s spellbinding art illuminates every step of the story, immersing the reader in a gorgeously rendered world that feels familiar yet utterly unique. 

Perfect for:

  • Parents interested in teaching their kids about loss and gratitude
  • Children who like fables/myths
  • Readers who love losing themselves in immersive picture book art
  • Readers looking for a modern classic picture book
  • Fans of William Steig, Erin and Philip Stead, and the Chronicles of Narnia
  • Educators and librarians looking for a magical, engaging read-aloud
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 48
Size: 11 x 9 1/2 H
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years
Publication Date: 03/22/2022
ISBN: 9781452182025

Stephen Barr has been a literary agent representing picture book authors and illustrators for over ten years. He lives in New York. This is his first book.

Gracey Zhang is a freelance illustrator and animator with a BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and educated in the United States, she is now based in New York, where she rides the train while thinking of warmer climates.

"Spare narration and subtle themes of hope and dedication guide the child forward . . . Zhang's (Nigel and the Moon) characteristic style, rendered in ink, gouache, and watercolor, portray a brown-skinned cast against a vividly colored landscape of deserts, broken Grecian columns, cherry trees, and bustling open-air markets in this picture book about contentment amid loss."
Publishers Weekly