Guest Author - Taisha Turner
Virginnie’s Hat is by Dori Chaconas. The illustrations are by Holly Meade. The picture book is for children ages four through eight-years-old. There are twenty-six pages in the book. A determined young girl seeks her hat. Virginnie lives in the American south.
Virginnie gets a large, pretty hat for protection from the strong Southern sun. She is proud of the hat. To her dismay, the wind carries the pretty hat high into a tree. Determinedly, Virginnie tries to retrieve the hat. Her attention is fixed only on the hat. So much so, she is clueless of the swamp creatures who want Virginnie for a meal. Small readers see a crawdaddy, snake and alligator. Finally, she dislodges the hat. Virginnie shouts for joy.
Dori Chaconas’ text is set in rhyme. The rhythm will soothe infants and toddlers at bedtime. The story, in rhyme, will delight older children at circle time. Virginnie’s Hat is full of humor. Virginnie not seeing the swamp creatures thinks the bayou is not scary. Children will laugh at how the crawdaddy, snake and alligator are dissuaded from biting Virginnie.
Watercolors and collage compose Holly Mead’s illustrations. She beautifully portrays the southern Miss. The little girl wears her hair in a bun. Wisps of hair float around her brown freckled face. The frilly hem of her slip flashes from under her dress as she throws her boots. Holly Mead captures Virginnie’s determination to dislodge the hat in her paintings. Enjoy the illustrations of the swamp animals, too.
In fact, use Virginnie’s Hat to open a discussion on bayou animals. The picture book introduces small children to three creatures who live there. Talk to children about the plants and trees. Allow the children to draw pictures of the animals.
Virginnie’s hat protects her from the strong sun. Speak to children about what they wear to protect their skin. Talk to them about wearing a sun screen and hat. Children need to learn to take an active role in their well-being. Point out that Virginnie is a child of color. Children of color need sun protection too.
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Note: Virginnie's Hat by Dori Chaconas' elementary school children picture book is from a third party.