Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Miss Fannie's Hat: A Book Review

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It's still the Easter season and it will be until Pentecost Sunday so I thought it's not too late to post about a wonderful book that would make a great addition to your Easter book collection. 

Have any of your children ever randomly checked out a book from the library and after reading it at home your family has discovered a beautiful story to be treasured always? 

During this past Lent this happened for our family.

My 7 year old daughter happened to borrow a book from the library this past Lenten season called Miss Fannie's Hat by Jan Karon. 

Toni Goffe's illustrations on the front of the book and through the entire story are fun, sweet and go so beautifully with the author's story line.
I love any book (or movie) based on real events so when I read on the inside cover, "For my mother, Miss Wanda, and in grateful memory of my grandmother, Miss Fannie", it immediately peeked my interest and I had a good feeling about the book.  So the cover and the dedication page already had me excited about reading this book to my daughter!

Amazon has this summary of the book:

Ninety-nine year old Miss Fannie has lots of hats, and she loves them all. But her favorite is the pink straw hat with the silk roses. That's the one Miss Fannie has worn on Easter Sunday for the past thirty-five years. When Miss Fannie's preacher asks her to donate one of her precious hats to the church auction, choosing which one to part with is no small task. This heartwarming story about the rewards of unselfish love will enchant readers young and old.
The star of Miss Fannie's Hat is based on Jan Karon's own grandmother. "My grandmother, Miss Fannie, was so wonderful I wanted to share her with everyone," says Jan Karon. "I wrote Miss Fannie's Hat to give both children and adults a sense of family, to give them the grandmother or great-grandmother they never had, or always wished they had. Briefly, the story is about sacrifice--and the rewards that can come when we give with a willing heart."

While I was reading the book to my 7 year old it kept her attention and mine since we were both anxious to find out which hat Miss Fannie would donate to her church's auction. 

There is a page at the beginning of the story that tells how Miss Fannie reads her Bible every morning after breakfast.  That page plus the part when the preacher approached Miss Fannie about donating a hat to raise funds for the church encouraged my daughter to ask, "Is Miss Fannie Catholic?"  I told her I'd ask the author about that :)
After my daughter and I read the book I then shared it with my husband and other children and my 10 year old daughter also asked the same question about whether Miss Fannie was Catholic or not.  This same question on separate occasions made me smile. :) 

On Easter morning Miss Fannie's Hat was on the kitchen table to surprise my children before they hunted for their Easter baskets. They were excited to get their own copy, especially my 7 year old daughter.  I then read the book again to my parents and entire family on Easter Sunday 2015 during our lunch.  

So why did our family love Miss Fannie's Hat so much?

* I loved that the author, Jan Karon, was so touched by her grandmother, Miss Fannie, that she wrote a children's book about her.

* I loved that Miss Fannie was a real person who had a great sense of style with all her fancy hats.

* I loved how the author's mother, Miss Wanda, took such good care of Miss Fannie.  It brought back memories of when my own mother and I used to take care of my grandmother before she passed away.

* I loved how this book modeled for my children the beauty of caring for the elderly. 

* I loved that Miss Fannie loved the Lord and went to church in all her fun hats. 

* I loved how each of Miss Fannie's hats brought back special memories from her past.

* I loved that Miss Fannie sacrificed something so special and her unselfish love brought joy to her heart and others.

* I loved that I was able to read Miss Fannie's Hat to my children several times and it kept their attention each time.

* I loved that when we got to the 2 page spread that had Miss Fannie sitting in her bedroom looking at her collection of hats, my 7 year old pointed out her favorites of Miss Fannie's hats each time I read the story to her.  My other children also chimed in with which of Miss Fannie's hats were their favorites.

* I loved that my children saw how making a sacrifice is not always easy, but sacrificial love can touch many lives in sometimes ways we can never imagine or will ever know this side of Heaven.

* I will always remember and love that I was able to share this story with my young children, husband and parents.  Reading the book to my parents and family on Easter Sunday was a gift for me for so many reasons.  There aren't many children's books that can be shared with ages 1 to 99 like Miss Fannie's Hat.

* I loved that even though this book takes place at Easter, it can be read anytime of year to be treasured by young and old alike.   

Thank you Jan Karon for introducing Miss Fannie and Miss Wanda to our family!

So do you have any books that have touched your heart in a special way and have become family favorites after a random library check-out?  Please share in the comments!

Hoping you are having a blessed week!


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