Book #180: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch -- coverI tend to like children’s books about grown-ups. If it’s done well, it’s a real accomplishment, as most adult lives are insipid to little kids. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch is about a man who lives an ordinary, solitary existence working in a shoelace factory. He gets up at the same time every day and eats the same lunch, a cheese and mustard sandwich, at work by himself.  You know the deal.

Then of course something unusual happens. He receives a huge box of candy on Valentine’s Day.  There’s a note attached that reads, “Somebody Loves You.”

Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch -- ordinary life

 

Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch -- big box

This changes everything. Somebody loves him? Who could it be? Mr. Hatch is suddenly energized by the thought of a secret admirer. He laughs and dances and helps his neighbors. He makes brownies for everyone and gives out his chocolates to his co-workers. He dusts off his old harmonica and plays a happy tune. Things are looking up. Somebody loves him.

Sadly, the mailman returns a few days later to report that the chocolate box was a mistake — it had been delivered to the wrong address. Somebody doesn’t love Mr. Hatch after all. Mr. Hatch plummets into loneliness again. He returns to his cheese and mustard sandwiches.

Here’s the text from the last page:

On Saturday morning Mr. Hatch woke to a bright and sunny day. He put on his old overalls and went out to the porch with his dustpan and broom.

He couldn’t believe his eyes. All over the porch were red and white hearts and pink bows. There were boxes of candy on the chairs and yellow streamers flowing from the ceiling. And sticking up out of his mailbox was a shining silver harmonica.

The front yard was filled with people. Happy smiling people. They were holding up a huge sign with hand-painted letters. It said: Everybody Loves Mr. Hatch.

Mr. Hatch dabbed at a tear with his handkerchief.

“I do believe” — he sniffed –“somebody loves me after all.”

And then he smiled. And then he laughed. And then he hurried down to be with his friends.

 

Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch -- all his friends

It’s just a great story about love and friendship, the kind you like to read to a child on Valentine’s Day.  It’s not syrupy like most of the sucrose I had to swim through in order to find you this one.  It’s lovely. The illustrations remind me of Oma and Bobo. And if you like this book, you’ll go nuts for Happy Valentine’s Day, Dolores, which I’ll talk about tomorrow. ABZ

 

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