I love hats! I started wearing hats in my 20′s when I was in college. I’m not talking about knitted wool hats, I’m talking fancy straw and felt hats that I would wear to complete my outfit. I still wear hats and am almost ashamed to admit that I have nearly 200 hats that are in boxes carefully organized and labeled so I can find just the one I want to wear to church on Sunday mornings. I love wearing hats to tea parties and I always take a couple of packable hats when I travel to give me flexibility to dress up an outfit.
As a children’s librarian, one of the best things about my job is doing storytimes for preschoolers, whether in the library or at one of our 40+ day cares and preschools we visit regularly. I always have a theme and hats has been a favorite storytime subject; kids love the hats I bring for show and tell.
A fairly new picture book that I was happy to discover is right up my alley. Happy Birthday Madam Chapeau by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts is one that I can’t wait to read aloud to 3-6 year-olds. The rhyming text tells of a milliner who makes all kinds of fabulous hats but is lonely. Once a year she dresses up and puts on a special hat and treats herself to dinner at the finest Parisian restaurant to celebrate her birthday. This year, as she’s walking to town to dine, a crow steals her birthday bonnet! Many onlookers offer her their hat to wear but she declines each one until a little girl offers Madame Chapeau a hat she has knitted. The illustrations are quite humorous and extend the text very nicely; David Roberts was a former milliner before illustrating children’s books and his knowledge of one-of-a-kind designer hats is evident. There is plenty for children to discover in the pictures that celebrate the joy of ribbons, baubles, bows, and veils. Have fun sharing this one!