'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Review: Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day

Brothers can be so annoying. Particularly brothers who destroy special hats. And most especially when you are a totally hat-loving girl.

Poor Clara - her beautiful, whimsical hat is ruined by Ollie - a hat that once belonged to Clara's Granny Elsie. A milliner with a penchant for beautiful creations, Elsie died long before Clara was born, but left her granddaughter with a serious love of gorgeous, brimmed creations.

To cheer her up, Clara's mum takes her to the Victoria and Albert Museum, a place also brimming with hats. Hoping she might find a milliner who could repair it, Clara tucks Granny Elise's hat into her backpack.

Walking past iconic London stores such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Harrods, Clara tours this stunning museum, and is delighted to come across a room packed to the rafters with beautiful hats of all shapes and sizes. There she meets a 'hat doctor' who makes Granny Elise's hat all better again.

The basic storyline of Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day has been carefully crafted into a stunning visual treat, just as the most simple straw created Granny Elise's elaborate hat.

Emily Sutton's whimsical pen and watercolour illustrations are a joy to meander through and appreciate, gorgeously showcasing the streets of London and the V&A and its collections. I particularly love the double page spread of the tea rooms, where Clara and her mum and brother Ollie have tea.

Illustration notes at the back of the book showcase some of the V&A's real treasures, such as the hunting sword with ivory grip from the 1650s and some very high heeled platforms by contemporary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood (1993).

A treat for lovers of history, beauty - and hats.

Title: Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day
Author: Amy de la Haye
Illustrator: Emily Sutton
Publisher: V&A, $22.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 November 2011
Format: Hard cover with dust jacket
ISBN: 9781851776580
For ages: 4 - 7
Type: Picture Book