Zara's Hats

Overview

A plucky heroine saves the day! Selig, the hatmaker, loves to make hats. Zara, his daughter, loves to help him. When Selig runs out of his famous feathers and must travel to find more, Zara misses Selig terribly. One day she gets a brilliant idea, and soon a prospering hat shop welcomes Selig home. This amusing tale of an imaginative heroine, based on the author's grandmother, will inspire readers with its upbeat spirit and the close, loving relationship between daughter and ...

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Overview

A plucky heroine saves the day! Selig, the hatmaker, loves to make hats. Zara, his daughter, loves to help him. When Selig runs out of his famous feathers and must travel to find more, Zara misses Selig terribly. One day she gets a brilliant idea, and soon a prospering hat shop welcomes Selig home. This amusing tale of an imaginative heroine, based on the author's grandmother, will inspire readers with its upbeat spirit and the close, loving relationship between daughter and father.

Selig, the hatmaker, creates beautiful hats with the finest materials and "exquisite feathers" but when there are no more feathers to be had, his imaginative daughter Zara comes up with a solution.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "In this tale of a turn-of-the-century New York milliner, Meisel creates both a spunky heroine and a sentimental ode to his roots." Ages 4-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Isn't life wonderful?" Selig, the hat maker, often remarked to his wife Leonora and his daughter Zara, as they worked together after school in their hat shop. Zara loved the soft fabrics, shiny ribbons, and exquisite feathers used to make her father's hats "good enough for the president's wife." Indeed, the family business was thriving, until there were no more feathers to be found in the city. Soon, there were no hats in the shop window, either. While her father set out on a journey far and wide to look for feathers, Zara had an idea. In the workroom, she used the other materials, the fabric and the ribbons, to make beautiful flowers. She modeled fruits and animals out of papier-mâché and painted them brightly. She fashioned new hats and filled the shop window with her creations. Papa returned from his trip without feathers, but with a shop full of customers, including the president's wife, who loved Zara's hats. The author's fine illustrations add to the upbeat story of a child helping the family continue the way of life they have always known and loved. 2003, Dutton Children's Books,
— Barbara Kennedy
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Selig makes wonderful hats, selling them to Loretta Falsetta the opera singer, or Brenda Hookenlader, the fire chief's wife, and others. Sadly, he runs out of feathers, a major component of his design, and he must travel by steamer to far-off places to find a new supply. In her father's absence, lonely Zara designs her own line of expressive hats using handmade fabric flowers and papier-mache fruits and animals. To her surprise, the ladies love them. When Papa finally does return, he finds a shop bustling with contented customers and hats "good enough for the president's wife." Using his own family history as inspiration, Meisel tells a fully fleshed out and engaging story. In a style reminiscent of the collaborative works of Amy Hest and Amy Schwartz, he creates, through the seamless combination of art and text, a slice-of-life tale that encompasses not just the experiences of one family but expands it to become a window into a past world. The pen-and-ink and watercolor art is light, colorful, and highly detailed. It captures the energy of the story while establishing the nuances of the early part of the 20th century, when men wore bowlers and top hats and street vendors sold their ware from horse-drawn carts. When Mrs. Edith Roosevelt appears on the final page, making good on Selig's repeated claim, readers can't help but smile. This is a rich and flavorful tale, satisfying and meaningful.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
For his first effort at creating the story as well as the illustrations, Meisel (Energy Makes Things Happen, Jan. 2003, etc.) pays homage to his family history by using the names and occupation of his own great-grandparents and grandmother. Zara is a little girl living in New York City in the early 1900s, happily assisting her father, Selig, in his profession as a hat maker. When Selig leaves on a world-wide search for more feathers to decorate his hats, the hat shop window is left empty until little Zara begins decorating hats with unique creative flair. Her hats are a hit, and Zara becomes the shop’s designer, even providing a clever chapeau for the president’s wife in a satisfying conclusion with a little historical joke (a hat with a teddy bear on top for Teddy Roosevelt’s wife, Edith). Meisel’s cheerful, busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations are framed in stylish lavender and convey an elegant, idealized New York City, with pleasant customers of all races, clean-swept streets and sidewalks, and tidy shops. Young listeners will be amused by little Zara’s amazing assortment of hats and by the way she solves her family’s financial dilemma with her imagination and creative talent. Zara’s story will be a perfect fit for hat-themed story hours. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142402740
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Meisel is the illustrator of numerous picture books. This is the first book he has both written and illustrated.

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