cover image The Hatmakers

The Hatmakers

Tamzin Merchant, illus. by Paola Escobar. Norton, $18.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-324-01603-8

In the Hatmaker House in London, everyone except for Cordelia Hatmaker, 11, believes that her father, Captain Prospero Hatmaker, was lost at sea during “an ingredient-hunting expedition” for hat components. Sending a quest pigeon with a note, Cordelia remains optimistic; after all, her father’s adventurous life has inspired her own. Cordelia and her family make up the Hatmaker Guild, which serves the Crown by creating magical hats that influence behavior. But trouble brews in England, as King George’s bizarre recent impulses have increased tensions with France. Commissioned to create Peace Clothes along with the other Maker families (Bootmakers, Cloakmakers, Watchmakers, and Glovemakers), and faced with the threat of being banned from making anything ever again, the Hatmakers hope to help prevent conflict before King Louis declares war on England. But the Guilds have never excelled at collaboration, a burglar lurks, and an evil figure looms. Merchant’s action-packed, intricately described debut relies on fantasy tropes—the princess in distress, the threat of winding up in the Tower of London, and good versus evil—making characters and plot feel thin, but readers new to the genre may find this an engaging endeavor. Back matter includes a detailed glossary of ingredients for apprentice hatmakers. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9–12. [em](Feb.) [/em]