Lulu’s Hat (2002), by Susan Meddaugh, author of Martha the talking dog series, was my latest purchase from the .99¢ store. I could not believe it. It’s a chapter book. Since I have a middle school student, it’s high time that I begin re-familiarizing myself with chapter books. But, even though this is a chapter book, the chapters are short. So, I would say this book could be for someone as young as 3rd or 4th grade; 2nd in Phillise’s case. She’s currently reading this. N-e way, on to the review.
In True Magic Families, a single member of each generation was born with the magician’s touch. Real magic. It was a genetic quirk that no one could explain. Either you had it or you didn’t. (Reminds me of Highlander- “There can be only ONE.”)
Lulu, the title character, belongs to a magic family who only has one magical person per generation. They are all waiting for the one. Lulu desperately wants to be the one. However, she knows that she cannot. She’s adopted. But, she still wants to help Uncle Jerry who discovered her during a performance in Atlantic City, wearing a sealed locket.
One summer, Lulu goes on the road with Uncle Jerry’s Traveling Magic Show and discovers her knack for hat tricks. She decides that even if she can’t do real magic, she can still be a good assistant. As a present to his new assistant, Uncle Jerry’s lets her pick anything she wants from his trunk. Lulu picks a beautiful black top hat. Before she picked the hat, she couldn’t do any of Uncle Jerry’s magic tricks. Now that she has the hat, the sky’s the limit. She can perform all the tricks now. She even has a special trick of her own. Her unpredictable top-hat produces rabbits, giant cane toads and a thick-set, Martha-esque (Martha Speaks) dog, who Lulu names Hereboy. No matter what comes out of Lulu’s hat, Hereboy always rounds it up. When Hereboy vanishes into the hat and won’t come out, Lulu follows him into Deep Magic Space, where she learns the secret of her original family- the Caste family. Lulu, who only set out to save Hereboy, learns more than she ever imagined.
Trouble begins when Earl Zopton, who’s always up to no good, discovers the hat. He causes a series of mishaps that he eventually pays for. Earl’s mother throws the hat into a shallow pond. As Lulu discovers, what happens on the outside of the hat affects what happens inside the hat. So, since the hat is in water, guess what, then so is Lulu! Later, the hat is put into the fridge. Can you guess what happened then?
Do you think you can guess how this story ends? I’ll bet that you can’t. There are many surprises and twists and turns in this cute little book. If you want to know what they are, read it and find out how it ends for yourself.