happy birthday madame chapeau + HATS!!! (+ giveaway)

happy_birthday_madame_chapeauHappy Birthday, Madame Chapeau words by Andrea Beaty, pictures by David Roberts.

Beaty and Roberts are true collaborators. A perfect picture book team.


Story and illustrations complement each other perfectly. They make each other SHINE.

Also, SO STYLISH. You know that already if you’ve read Iggy Peck, Architect or Rosie Revere, Engineer.





“It is Andrea’s Law of Picture Books to include…notes only for plot points or jokes. Everything else, I think should be left to the illustrator with guidance from the editor. They are wildly talented people who take my words to places I never dreamed of and that is such fun to see!”

—Andrea Beaty




From the first page, you fall in love with the hats in this book. So many whimsical wonderful fantastical hats. And then you fall in love with Madame Chapeau. Hatmaker. Hard worker. Elegant, creative Parisian. Lonely gal.


3209580_origI have to mention how Andrea Beaty does rhyme! I mean, on top of everything, this book rhymes! And in the most natural story-telling, fun-loving way.


“In a three-story house with a shop down below

lived the world’s finest hat maker, Madame Chapeau.” 


Chapeau makes the most perfect hat for each of her customers. But she always dines alone. Except on her birthday, that one special day a year, she wears her best dress and bonnet and eats at a super fancy restaurant. (Chez Snooty-Patoot, of course!!)

Only this year, she loses her hat in a most creative way. And, in a way, she loses her HEART.

As David [Roberts] worked through the sketches, our editor, Susan Van Metre, helped us find the heart of the story – which is Madame Chapeau’s loneliness and how the simple act of kindness can change a person’s world.”

                                                                                     —Andrea Beaty


If you read between the lines, as in look carefully at the illustrations, Madame Chapeau’s character is that much richer.  Yes, the hats she designs—those shapes and details. But also, the framed photos at her desk and table. Photos of her and a fellow. She, wearing a heart-shaped red bonnet. A bonnet someone else made for her if you pay close attention

And finally: the girl! She first shows up on the spread with all the shops and is featured again below, with her mother. She makes all the difference to Madame Chapeau in the end!



“David took the idea and created very subtle details in the illustrations to tell the back story about Madame Chapeau’s husband who is now gone. (For instance, the photos and the hatbox from Monsieur Chapeau.)”

—Andrea Beaty




Last fun tidbit: David Roberts himself was a milliner in Hong Kong and the heart-shaped bonnet Madame Chapeau loses—that’s his own millinery design!


I received a review copy of this book; opinions are my own. 





Hats! Many hats featured in this book! (Check out that first image at the top of the post to see some of these illustrated.)


Upside down shoe hat byElsa Schiaparelli.



beatricePrincess Beatrice’s royal wedding hat designed by Philip Treacy.



philip-treacy-hats-004Grace Jones in Philip Treacy hat.


OB-NZ311_mag611_G_20110519183846Charlie Chaplin’s iconic derby.



Marcel MarceauMarcel Marceau’s famous crinkly one.




Isabella Blow, whom Madame Chapeau’s likeness is based on, wearing one of many hats. (See her in more hats over the years, some by Philip Treacy, here.)



That’s Isabella with Philip there. And the hat the girl’s wearing? Red and white-striped with long black feather? You can bet that’s an important hat in Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau!


See the last page of the book and that darling little girl to see what I mean!


And if you’d like to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book, simply leave a comment on this post! Tell us about your favorite hat if you like. 

And you can check out my previous hat posts too!—the hat I made and the hats I borrowed.

I’ll contact the randomly chosen winner by email for your mailing address.

(Open to N. America only—sorry about that far-flung international readers!) Giveaway ends Monday, November 3 at midnight. Good luck!)



Thanks to Abrams Books!




34 Responses to happy birthday madame chapeau + HATS!!! (+ giveaway)

  1. oh my STARS, this book is amazing!!! Love the dog bone hat!! My daughter would just adore this. Amazing book, and fabulous review and post!

  2. Danzel says:

    We checked this one out from the library, and LOVED it. We’re all hat people in our family.

  3. Mary Ann Kasper says:

    My great great grandmother was a French milliner who opened her own fashion house, and fashion as an important part of life, whether work, hobby or way of life, has come down the maternal line to all the ladies in the family, especially my sister, who looks a lot like Madame Chapeaux! So when I saw this book at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, I had to get it for my sister for her birthday, signed by the author! Needless to say sister loves this book!

  4. Lori Ginn Reed says:

    What a lovely book! I adore all of the artwork and the other photos that were used for inspiration. 🙂

  5. Saily says:

    My grandfather had a Nehru hat that he actually wore in a picture with Nehru. This book is the perfect birthday present for lots of kids we know!

  6. My Mom Person got to meet Ms Beatty and hear her read this book at the Texas Book Festival recently! I have quite a hat collection myself, but none so fancy as these in this post! I think the Mom Person’s brain is spinning though!

  7. Oh yes – please count me in! Would love this book.

    And we have to talk about the Hat that deserves all the R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Luke Song’s masterpiece created for Aretha Franklin to wear at Obama’s inauguration. Please!! We cannot take that much awesomeness at once! Truly fit for a legend, a crown for a queen.

  8. I’m always a little intimidated to wear hats but my three-year-old loves them. 🙂

    I’m so happy to see another book by this fabulous author/illustrator team! Of course we would love to win a copy of it!

  9. Sarah M says:

    Oh my this post was awesome!! I don’t wear hats myself very often, but I sure loved watching all the fascinators in England during Kate & William’s wedding celebrations!
    Sarah M

  10. I love this book! Makes me want to make and wear hats. And the real hats worn by people are amazing. Not that I would wear the hat that Beatrice wore, the dark eye make-up and hat make the princess look a bit like a cartoon character comfortable showing up as Edward Scissorhands’ sister……but I love the little red and white one with a black feather. Without even reading the attribution, I thought it was created by the same team as Iggy Peck, Architect. They have such a distinctive style. Very cool!

  11. Patricia Toht says:

    Another winner from Andrea Beaty! And how cool that David Roberts was a milliner in Hong Kong. As for favorites, I lived close to Ascot for awhile and the hats were the best part of the races — way too many cool one to choose just one.

  12. Amélie says:

    This book looks wonderful! As for hats, my favorite that comes to mind is The Little Prince’s drawing of the snake who has eaten the elephant. 🙂

  13. I like Chaplin’s derby hat. It’s simple and classic. Princess Beatrice’s hat was way over the top. That said, I don’t think she should’ve been raked through the coals by the media (and probably the Twitterverse) after the wedding. Such is life in the public eye, I guess.

    Cannot wait to get my hands on this book. It looks incredible!

  14. I love this post! What a beautiful book. Iggy Peck is one of our household favorites. I love the hat you made in honor of Brian Won’s book too!

  15. karikelly says:

    Oh, how I love this book! But I don’t think I could do anything but love a creation of Andrea and David!

  16. Bonnie Eng says:

    What an adorable book…love, love, love! The illustrations are just exquisite. Since I have nothing else, an upside down shoe hat sounds good for tonight! 🙂

  17. Maria says:

    Oooh, lovely! I wish I could wear hats, but they all look ridiculous on my head. Maybe I can get some ideas from here 🙂

  18. Caryn says:

    Love this! I’ve never been much of a hat-wearer but have always wanted to be. This looks brilliant!

  19. Ashley says:

    Mags would love this, enter us for the drawing! My great grandma was a milliner in New York City after emigrating from Romania.

  20. We have a winner! Amelie’s name was randomly picked from This Picture Book Life’s hat! Congratulations to her and thanks to all who read this post and entered.

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