Name of Book: Miss Fannie’s Hat
Author: Jan Karon
Illustrator: Toni Goffe
Publisher: Puffin Books
Audience: Ages 6-9
Summary: Miss Fannie has a large collection of hats. Each one has special meaning for her. All of her friends at church always tell her how beautiful each hat is when she wears it on Sunday. Miss Fannie’s very favorite hat is pink straw with silk roses. One day the preacher comes by her house and announces that the church will be having an auction to raise money to fix up the church in time for Easter. After considering all of her hats, Miss Fannie donates her favorite pink straw with the silk roses for the auction. The hat sells for a large amount of money. Miss Fannie decides to go to Easter service without wearing a hat. She sees that the church yard has been planted with roses as a lasting reminder of her favorite hat.
Literary elements at work in the story: The characterization in the story is a key element to its message. The character of Miss Fannie is an example of an elderly member of a church congregation who has most likely been a part of the church for a very long time. She really wrestles with giving away her favorite hat in the same way that I believe many people do when it comes to their financial contribution to the church. She is faithful to God and to her church and prays about what to do for the church auction. Miss Fannie is an example of what it means to genuinely give to the church from your heart and for God.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: The culture portrayed in this story is one in which church was an integral part of living. People attended every week and wanted to be there. This type of culture is typical of that of the 1950’s when many mainline denominations were at their peak memberships and church was what you did every week on Sunday. The illustrations also portray a Caucasian congregation. While I do not believe these perspectives take away from the message, I do believe it is important for those who use this book for teaching to be aware of before sharing the story.
Scripture: Matthew 19:26, 2 Corinthians 9:7-10, Luke 21:1-4
Theology: God makes possible things that we cannot. Our gifts to God will be multiplied to create a bountiful harvest. Giving all that we have back to God is our grateful response to God’s love and mercy.
Faith Talk Questions:
- How do Miss Fannie’s hats make her feel? Do you have a special something that means a lot to you?
- What do you think Miss Fannie’s favorite bible verse (Matthew 19:26) means?
- What do you think Miss Fannie is thinking about in the illustration on pgs. 16-17?
- Why does Miss Fannie give away her favorite hat?
- How can giving away something very special make you feel excited?
- Why doesn’t Miss Fannie wear a hat on Easter Sunday?
- What does the final illustration in the story say to us about giving?
Review prepared by Marcia Rauch, MACE, Entering Cohort Fall 2006
Miss Fannie’s Hat by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.