Friday, April 2, 2010

Millie's Marvellous Hat

Visits to our local library are a weekly event for Emmy and me. It is so wonderful to watch Emmy say hello to the librarians and carefully return the books to the book slot. Even better is the obvious joy she has scanning the shelves and choosing new books to place into her library bag. This picture shows just how comfortable she is at the library. We can spend hours there. Also important to point out is the satisfaction she feels in knowing that Fridays are library day. Creating a routine that is predictable allows your child to feel safe. Emmy measures her life by the order of events in it so our routine helps her make sense of her world and develop a sense of security as well as independence.

On our last visit to the library, Emmy disovered the book Millie's
Marvellous Hat written and illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. It is the story of a little girl who comes across a hat shop as she is walking home from school. She admires the hat with colored feathers and goes inside to try it on. My favorite character is the hat shop clerk. He exudes a stiff, formal manner and has the best little mustache!

"May I see the hat with the colorful feathers, please?' she asked the man behind the counter. 'Certainly, Madam,' replied the man, and he fetched the hat from the window. Millie tried it on. It suited her perfectly. 'I'll take it,' she said. 'An excellent choice, Madam,' said the man. 'That will be five hundred and ninety-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents.' Millie opened her purse and looked inside. 'Oh, dear,' she said. 'Do you have anything cheaper?' 'What sort of price were you thinking of, Madam?' asked the man kindly. 'Well...about this much,' said Millie and showed him her purse. It was empty. 'I see...' muttered the man, and he looked up at the ceiling."

What happens next is so endearing. The clerk goes to the back of the shop and returns with a hat box. He opens it with a flourish and with great care places a hat on Millie's head.

"This is a most marvellous hat, Madam." said the man. "It can be any size, shape or color you wish. All you have to do is imagine it."

Emmy and I love the way the clerk and the little girl pretend together as the hat is just imaginary, but the exchange between the two continues to be a formal affair. As Millie walks home, she imagines her hat to be many different things: a peacock hat, a flowery hat, a fountain hat. Emmy's favorite is Millie's cake hat! I love it when Emmy walks around the house pretending she is wearing a cupcake hat or an ice cream hat!

After reading a bit about Satoshi Kitamura, I am anxious to take a look at the book Once Upon an Ordinary School Day which is a collaboration between Kitamura and Colin McNaughton. It is the tale of an 'ordinary' child and an inspirational teacher. I believe this story will speak to my past life as a primary school teacher!

Taking some inspiration from Millie, Emmy and I will imagine our different hats as we walk to the library today.

"Limitations live only in our minds.
But if we use our imaginations,
our possibilities become limitless."
Jamie Paolinetti


  1. We LOVE LOVE LOVE both these books! I reviewed Millie's marvellous hats here: (gosh - one of my first posts on my blog!!)

    And then Once upon an ordinary school day here:

    So what hats have you been wearing today? I have to admit mine has been something of a worn tyre - I'm feeling a bit threadbare as it's end of term and I'm exhausted and J hasn't been hugely well and now I've got two weeks of the girls on my own... somehow I have to find a new reserve of energy! I hope your hat has been more like a vase of flowers or a rising sun :-)

  2. Thanks for the comment, Zoe! Today we are both wearing our spring hats as the weather is simply gorgeous - rays of sunshine, daffodils everywhere, ice cream shops open and lots of shorts and flip flops! We're sending you a hat full of renewed energy!!!!

  3. Thanks! We had a good night last night (no wakings!) so am feel better this morning (or is that to do with the fact that I've snuck some easter chocolate out of storage to have with my morning coffee?!)