When the boy narrator of this story receives an invitation to the ‘Biggest, Bestest Hattiest Party of All Time’ he’s in a bit of a panic: he doesn’t own a single hat – the very item upon which the party depends. He begins a search at the obvious place – Peddler’s hat shop, but they’ve completely sold out. The only ‘titfa’ he can lay his hands just happens to be on a sausage-selling monkey’s head. Negotiations don’t go well, so the boy is left with a single choice: he seizes hat – still attached to said monkey – and off they go to the venue. The zealous doorman insists on seeing his invitation, which is duly produced; but it seems there are other entry restrictions, notably no hat-wearing monkeys … unless they’re monocle wearers.
Geoff badger obliges with the monocle so long as he too can attend the party, but can you believe, that doorman has more restrictions and stipulations and so it continues with the doorman making ever more outrageous demands, each of which is duly complied with, until there’s a whole throng of would-be party goers awaiting admittance. It’s only then that they notice a sign above the doorman – with yet another ridiculous rule. That too is dealt with, thanks to a kindly penguin who pre-empts the next rule; but once gain the ‘guests’ are thwarted. By this time our narrator is on the point of self-destructing. Instead, he yells at the top of his voice, ‘… Nigel clearly stated that I could bring anyone I wanted so long as I brought a hat, and I brought a monkey in a hat so technically I brought a hat and …’
What happens next is a jaw droppingly brilliant: a sudden turn of events brings everyone up short: nothing less than a show-stopper. In fact every single word of the telling is cogent; and Kate Hindley’s illustrations are priceless, each one being crammed with wonderfully funny details. Her visual rendition of Simon Philip’s wonderful tale is the ‘Hattiest Bestest’ possible.