cover image She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!

She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!

Kathryn Lasky, David Catrow. Hyperion Books, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0065-0

Proper Boston ladies Harriet Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall are absolutely incensed by the latest style: ladies' hats topped with not just feathers but whole birds (``from egrets to pheasants to owls to warblers... even pigeons!''). The fad dovetails with the women's suffrage movement: ``Fashion was killing birds as well as killing women's chances to have the right to vote and be listened to. For who would listen to a woman with a dead bird on her head?'' Harriet and Minna found the Massachusetts Audubon Society; take their crusade to sportsmen, socialites and schoolchildren; lobby for laws to protect wildfowl; and even help bust an illegal feather warehouse. Catrow (The Cataract of Lodore; Ridiculous Rhymes from A to Z, reviewed below) contributes flamboyant caricatures of the behatted Bostonians in convincing period costume, and his watercolors of birds mimic John James Audubon's own naturalistic paintings. Despite Lasky's and Catrow's enthusiasm, however, Harriet and Minna in their zealotry seem just as exaggerated and one-dimensional as their fashionably feathered foes. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)