cover image Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)

Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)

Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-54682-6

For Sarah and Susan, a visit to their great-great-aunt Flossie is a literal and figurative feast. After tea and cookies, and before crabcakes, they are permitted to look through Aunt Flossie's prodigious collection of hats and try on their favorites. ``Each hat has its story,'' says Aunt Flossie, as she relates tales of the old days--the big Baltimore fire, the parade at the end of WW I and, best of all, a story the girls can help tell because they are in it. This is an affecting portrait of a black American family and of the ways in which shared memories can be a thread, invisible yet strong, that ties generations together. Howard's ( Chita's Christmas Tree ) quiet, sure telling is well matched by Ransome's ( Do Like Kyla ) art--elegant, expressive oil paintings that convey warmth, joy, tenderness and love. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)