cover image The Lady with the Ship on Her Head

The Lady with the Ship on Her Head

Deborah Nourse Lattimore. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-243525-7

Lattimore's fanciful story pokes fun at the ridiculous extravagances reached by women's coiffures in 18th-century France. Madame Pompenstance, the book's somewhat rattle-brained heroine, is a perfect example of the silliness of the times. Preparing for the annual Fancy Dress Ball, this fatuous fashion plate is seeking a suitably excessive hairstyle that will win her the prestigious Medal for Best Headdress. When Madame strolls down to the beach for inspiration, a small triple-masted sailing ship docks right on top of her head. Thinking the sun is beating rather strongly, she doesn't realize what has happened. Her day goes from bad to worse--the ``headache'' becoming increasingly painful--but that night at the ball, Madame is at last awarded the coveted prize, never discovering the reason. Lattimore has crafted exquisite, historically accurate illustrations that will provide as much mirth as her tongue-in-cheek tale. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)