Escape From Hat

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Escape From Hat Book Poster Image
Clever epic of heroic rabbits vs. evil black cats.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Author Adam Kline says his parents taught him quite a few five-dollar words, and he loads up this narrative with them (and maybe even a few ten-dollar ones), which adds to the fun but also introduces the youngest of kids to such satisfying words as "charlatan" and "perspective." Scientifically minded kids will enjoy exploring the sunless world of Hat, and the flora and fauna that thrive there. Not to mention Kline's imaginative invention of the symbiotic relationship between the pigmies and the blue truffles. One interlude finds characters popping in and out of portals, emerging at various points on the globe, and budding geography students will have fun figuring out where they are.

Positive Messages

Courage and determination in the face of the scariest hopelessness; kindness and sharing; loyalty to your friends; the importance of each character's sometimes unexpected talents. Perhaps most important: the way many scary moments turn out quite lucky, and terrifying monsters prove themselves great friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With the exception of a few obvious villains, most of the characters display positive attributes. Both Leek and his human boy, Cecil, are brave, determined, and clever in their efforts to find each other, despite scary challenges; along the way, many new-met friends help them, from Morel the dauntless rabbit warrior princess to the magician who gives Cecil helpful, if mysterious, advice.

Violence & Scariness

Throughout the book, the black cats, often aided by demonic machines called Dimmer-Dammers, are bent on killing Leek and Morel (and pretty much everyone else in their path) in their eternal quest to spread bad luck. Leek, Morel, and other characters are often involved in hand-to-hand combat with the cats; at one point they're about to be boiled for dinner and at another they're eaten by a sea monster. It's scary in many spots, but the danger is usually cartoonish, and little real harm results.


There are abundant references, comical rather than prurient, to underwear (Cecil's bad luck often involves getting soaked to his tighty-whities), dog poop (more bad luck), and pee (the villain pees his pants when frightened).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the imaginative, vividly illustrated Escape From Hat, concerning the perils of Leek, the good-luck rabbit, has a raft of positive messages (loyalty, friendship, bravery), presented in a lighthearted, fast-moving plot. There's much to tickle the funnybones of young readers, not to mention the adults who read it to littler ones. Kids at the age to find bathroom and underwear references hilarious will giggle at every mention of dog poop, tighty-whities and the villain's unfortunate bedwetting habit. Grown-ups will get a kick out of sly but G-rated references to the rabbits' talent for multiplication, as well as clever placement of such literary in-jokes as "It was a dark and stormy night ..."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written byBooboolita March 8, 2013

Well written book gets and keeps my kids's attention .....and they always ask for more!!

This book is very well written. I read it to my 8 and 6 year old boys and we were all immediately hooked on the storyline. I love the way the author plays with... Continue reading

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What's the story?

You may not know this, but every human has his own black cat and lucky rabbit working behind the scenes -- the cat to cause as much bad luck as possible, the rabbit to make everything turn out great. Faithful Leek the rabbit has his work cut out for him to protect his boy, Cecil Bean, from the endless mayhem of Millikin the cat. Then one day, thanks to the cat's sinister schemes, he falls through a magician's hat into the world of Hat itself, where the sun never shines, and where he soon finds many other rabbits who've met a similar fate. He's determined to make his ESCAPE FROM HAT and get back to Cecil, even when wiser rabbits tell him it can't be done. He sets off on this difficult quest, accompanied by Morel, brave warrior princess of the rabbits. Meanwhile, Cecil undertakes his own expedition to get his rabbit back.

Is it any good?

Author Adam Kline's funny, fast-moving story and imaginative characters engage young kids, their parents, and their older sibs, with grand adventures and frequent laugh-out-loud moments. Scottish artist Brian Taylor's gorgeous, anime-like full-color illustrations and cute pen-and-ink drawings are fun to explore, adding another dimension to the story.

An especially good choice for kids who aren't ready to deal with real villains and monsters, Escape From Hat gives them good tools for handling future scary stuff, since some bad guys are comically inept while others turn out not to be so bad after all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Why does the rabbits' luck change for the better just when they seem most doomed? How does Cecil make his own magic from scratch?

  • What other magical adventure stories do you like? How does Escape From Hat compare with them? Does it make a difference that many of the characters aren't human?

  • Why do you think stories about being trapped in another world and trying to get home are so popular?

Book details

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