Millie’s Marvelous Hat, by Satoshi Kitamura is a wonderfully warm, tongue-in-cheek book which follows a young girl on her walk home. It begins when she stops by a hatter’s shop and tries to buy a glorious hat displayed in the window. On discovering she is penniless, the shop-keeper fetches her a ‘magic’ hat from the back room. This hat changes appearance, depending on what Millie sees and feels.
At face value, the book is a lovely romp through a child’s imagination, but it also offers a myriad of opportunities to discuss emotions and how the way we act can improve another’s day.
The passage which particularly helped to illustrate this was when Millie smiled at an old lady, causing some of the creatures from her hat fly over to the woman’s. The happiness felt by Millie was suddenly gifted to a passer-by through the simple act of smiling – something that all of us would do well to remember.
The beautiful, colourful illustrations feel like a breath of fresh air and the details in the various hats which Millie imagines kept myself and the children looking for hours. Even a child too young for the story itself would find value in looking at the pictures.
Whilst I do love the story, I feel that it’s the artwork in this book which makes it truly magical. I can’t imagine this working nearly so well without the glorious pictures.
This is the sort of book that I’d seek out in hardback to gift to people – a real keep-sake – and I wish that I could find prints of the illustrations to hang in my own bedroom, never mind the children’s! The palette of colours is so fresh and crisp that I can’t imagine ever getting tired of looking at them.
This story never fails to make me smile and inspire me – which books make you feel the same way?