National Hat Day is easy to celebrate: all you need is a hat of some kind and one or more of these stories where a hat plays center stage. Read on for our top picks.

michelle obama reading stories cat in the hatphoto: US Army via flickr

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Possibly one of the most iconic children’s books of all time, the cat’s signature striped top hat is recognized by kiddos around the world. His antics still lead to laughter and the simple, rhyming story has been helping kids read since 1957.

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photo: Wikimedia commons

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss

This other Seuss classic may not be as recognizable as the Cat in the Hat but we think your kiddos will love it just the same. First published in 1938, it’s beautifully illustrated in classic Seuss fashion, follow young Bartholomew (of Bartholomew and the Ooblek fame) as he tries to remove his hat to appease an unreasonable king.

Jan Brett, The Hat

photo: Amber Guetebier

The Hat by Jan Brett

This story about a trendsetting hedgehog features the author’s signature Scandinavian-inspired artwork (we love her borders!) Brett’s website offers readers tons of interactive action for the kids, like these free printable masks of all of the animals from The Hat.

caps for salephoto: Melanie Holstman via flickr 

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

First published in 1938, this story about a peddler and some very crafty monkeys is a classic that will quickly become a repeat performance at story time.

hatback Walker booksphoto: Walker Books

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen’s instant classic will have you and the kids chuckling along as the bear very politely looks for his little red hat. We won’t spoil it by telling you if he gets it or not. Klassen’s other hits, This Is Not My Hat and We Found a Hatshould make it on your must-read list.

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photo: ezra-jack-keats.org

Jennie’s Hat by Ezra Jack Keats

If you and your kiddos aren’t already familiar with beloved author Ezra Jack Keats (The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willy) Jennie’s hat will hook you. This sweet story of a little girl whose dream hat doesn’t quite match up what’s in the box and the adventures that follow are beautifully illustrated as only Keats can do. Will Jennie get her perfect dream hat? Read it to find out!

the mad hatter photo: Joe Penniston via flickr

The Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Gracing the pages of Lewis Carroll’s original 1865 tale, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this kooky tea partier has been adapted for stage and screen including the animated Disney classic, Alice in Wonderland, voiced by Ed Wynn (who also played Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins, among many other roles and voiceovers). You can find literally hundreds of adaptations of this book. We love the classic, along with the Little Golden book based on the Disney version.

What’s your favorite madcap story that involves a hat? Tell us in the comments below!

—Amber Guetebier