Biblio File, Children's Literature @ NYPL
The Haberdashery of Kid Lit
The clothes make the man? Nah . . . how about the hats make the children's book characters.
Where would some of our favorite literary kiddos be if not for their fabulous headwear? And what better time to celebrate them than National Hat Day? Check out a few of our favorites below.
Anne’s round straw hat—with or without ribbon—on top of that unmistakable red hair is quintessential element of the 1908 Canadian classic about the bold, creative, one-of-a-kind girl in Avonlea.
The floppy red hat on the ursine protagonist of the 1958 classic—and its subsequent, many-faceted franchise—saw him from Peru the whole way through to London. It was even called out in Vogue.
The Man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George
Arguably the worst-ever caretaker of a small child/monkey/dependent creature, the Man in the Yellow Hat is remarkable mostly for his terrible parenting and his inexplicably prominent hat. The rest of his outfit is all yellow, too, but he’s still the Man with the Yellow Hat—not the Man with the Yellow Pants, or the Man with the Yellow Shirt, or even the Man with the Yellow Tie. He’s the man with the Yellow Hat.
The bear from I Want My Hat Back
The round yellow hats on those 12 little girls in two straight lines are simply unforgettable. (Note: There is a book called Madeline and the Bad Hat, but it’s about a naughty neighbor and not an actual hat.)
The Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Inspired by the Victorian phrase “mad as a hatter,” Lewis Carroll never actually called this whimsical haberdasher “the Mad Hatter.” But he’s characterized by an out-of-control top hat that reads, "In this style 10/6." (Meaning the price of his hat: 10 shillings and sixpence.)
Hats are so essential to this easy reader that the plot is punctuated by a recurring scene of one dog asking another about, you guessed it, their hat.
The Ingalls girls from Big House in the Little Woods (and the rest of the series)
Their headwear inspires the timeless question: Are bonnets hats? We say yes.
Max from Where the Wild Things Are
You can’t roar your terrible roar or gnash your terrible teeth like Max without a crown, to show that you’re the king of all the wild things. (Do crowns count as hats? Again, we say yes.)
The literal monkey business going on in this kidlit classic wouldn’t be possible without the plethora of caps—red, turquoise, and speckled black and white—that the peddler is trying to sell.
That hat is so big
And so striped and so tall,
It is the best hat!
The best hat of all!
What are your favorite hats in kidlit? Let us know in the comments!
Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.
Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!