cover image Miss Fannie's Hat

Miss Fannie's Hat

Jan Karon. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8066-3526-2

In her first book for children, Karon (Out to Canaan) uses her own grandmother as model for the good-natured Miss Fannie, famous for the dazzling, wide-brimmed hats she wears to church each Sunday. Her most celebrated is a pink straw hat with silk roses, which she has worn to services on 35 consecutive Easters. When the preacher asks her to donate one of her bonnets for the church auction, Miss Fannie asks the Lord for guidance in deciding which one to give away. Not surprisingly, she selects her prized pink chapeau and her sacrifice is rewarded handsomely, as the item fetches a high enough sum to make needed repairs to the church and bankroll the planting of beds of dazzling pink roses on the grounds. In a rather sentimental conclusion, Karon notes that when people view the beds of flowers, ""what they're really seeing is Miss Fannie's hat."" Animated by Goffe's (Just in Case You Ever Wondered) pastel-toned, cartoon art, this cheerful story offers a worthy message while avoiding a didactic tone. Children will delight in finding (tucked into a pocket on the back endpaper) a coated sheet featuring outdoor and indoor scenes as a backdrop for Miss Fannie, for whom they can use reusable stickers to dress her in an array of outfits and millinery. All ages. (Feb.)