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Sue Bland
Red Deer (Alta.), Red Deer College Press, 1994. unpaged, cloth, $14.95
ISBN 0-88995-115-2. (Northern Lights Books for Children). Distributed by Raincoast Books. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 2/ Ages 5-7

Reviewed by Ila D. Scott

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Madame de Toucainville dearly loves hats and has one for every occasion, whether it be gardening, dreaming in the coulee, or attending social engagements. All her hats are magnificently ornamented with wonder-ful ostrich plumes or peacock feathers. When she finds to her horror that birds are being killed in order to adorn these elegant creations, she resolves never to wear another hat. Soon the invitation to the Bonny Bonnet Contest arrives, a contest Madame has won four years in a row. This year she creates a new and even more magnificent hat from an ugly castoff in the pawnbroker's shop by incorporating blossoms, butterflies and birds from her garden.

This is a gentle tale of a long-ago time when ladies routinely wore hats for all occasions outside the home. However, there is also an important message here for today's generation about how each of us is responsi-ble for the beauty and preservation of the world and its vulnerable creatures. Eland's framed illustrations opposite each page of text give a touch of whimsy and colour to this simple tale, and the almost Impressionist renderings of Madame's garden are particu-larly good.

Young readers will have little difficulty with this story despite the use of an italic font, and purchase is recommended for school and public library collections.

Ila D. Scott is Assistant Reference/Collections Librarian at Herbert T. Coutts Library, University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta.

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