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Bridget’s Beret by Tom Lichtenheld

Bridget loved to draw as much as other kids love ice cream.  She had a lot of art supplies, but her most important one was her beret that made her feel like a real artist.  But one day, her beret was caught by the wind and flew away.  Bridget searched for her beret, reported it missing and even offered a reward for its safe return, but it was not found.  Unfortunately, along with her beret, Bridget lost her ability to do art.  She did try other hats to see if they would inspire her, but none of them did.   Bridget was left unable to do art at all; she had artist block.  A few days later, her sister asked her to make a sign for their lemonade stand.  Bridget tried to refuse, but was reminded that it was a sign, not art.  So she started making a sign.  And once she started, she couldn’t stop.  She made sign after sign, several in the styles of famous artists.  Bridget was back to being an artist, beret or no.

The text here is laugh-out-loud funny at times with a charming wit.  There are several series of illustrations that really add humor, including the series of images of Bridget trying different hats.  Her paintings that reference more famous works are also very funny.  Nicely, there is an appendix that shows the original works.  Bridget is an engaging character, reacting to the loss of her beloved hat in an honest and childlike way.   Watching a young person genuinely work through a crisis is great, as is the fact that she did it herself without adults offering the solution. 

A clever take on artist block and the power of art, this book will appeal to adults as well as children.  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt.