Māsuke’s Hat

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Māsuke’s Hat
Author: Noboru Baba
Specifications: ISBN  978-4591154526
32 pages
19.0 x 23.0 cm / 7.6 x 9.2 in (WxH)
Category: Children & YA
Ages: 3+
Publisher: Poplar Publishing Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 1981
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


This is a sequel to Kuma no Māsuke (Māsuke the Bear), which introduced the easygoing but determined Māsuke and his animal friends.

Māsuke the Bear is trying to learn to ride his bike in the small clearing in front of his house in the forest. Mother Bear is watching his wobbly efforts from the window when he takes a hard fall—“Oh dear!” But Māsuke remains undaunted. He rolls his bike out of the forest into an open field to practice some more, but his progress is still very wobbly and he falls after going only a short distance.

When Mr. Goat sees him take the spill, he gets a sailor cap with a blue and white crown from his truck and brings it to Māsuke. “Put this on, and you’ll be able to ride your bike like a pro,” he tells him.

Māsuke dons the cap, and sure enough, he can ride his bike without difficulty just like that. But as he is pedaling happily along, the wind catches his precious hat and carries it away. When he stops to look for it, he sees a pelican lifting off with a blue and white hat on its head, so he leaps back onto his bike and makes chase, demanding that the pelican give his cap back. The pelican keeps flying, insisting that the hat is his own. Then Māsuke sees a blue and white hat on the roof of a house he passes and recognizes it as the one he lost. He also realizes that he has now learned to ride his bike even without the headgear.

A short while later Māsuke sees Mr. Gorilla running behind his little boy to steady his wobbling bike as he tries to stay upright. He gives the gorilla boy his special hat, telling him he’ll be able to ride like a pro right away.

Young readers can “ride along” with Māsuke as he struggles at first to stay upright, then exhilarate in his success—which he in turn realizes he can pass on to others. It is a book that teaches the value and importance of small kindnesses.