Free delivery on all orders over £10
Schools can pay by invoice by setting up an account at checkout.
Start a wish list for your school or nursery.
The Hatmakers

The Hatmakers

Published: 18 Feb 2021

Hardback, 384 pages

Recommended for age 9+

By Tamzin Merchant

Illustrated by Paola Escobar

Published by Penguin Random House Children's UK

Regular price
£5.90
Sale price
£5.90
Regular price
RRP £7.99
Unit price
per 

Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia's world, Making - crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients - is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain. When Cordelia's father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him.

But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war. It's up to Cordelia to find out who, and why .

Tagged courage and magic

The The Hatmakers series

The Hatmakers
The Mapmakers

Reviewed by Anne Thompson

The Hatmakers debut set in an alternative Georgian London is an imaginative, magical adventure with underlying themes of co-operation, reconciliation and trust.

The plot is centred on Cordelia, the youngest of the Hatmakers, one of the different Maker families entrusted with creating special clothing and accessories for the royal family. This clothing is imbued with magical qualities that result in altering the mood of the wearer from anger to happiness and every emotion in between. There has been a long-standing feud and bitter mistrust between the families and the story opens during a particularly difficult period. The Makers have been instructed to provide Peace Clothing to ensure a successful outcome of the forthcoming peace talks with the King of France. Cordelia’s father, Prospero, has been lost at sea during a violent storm and King George appears to have gone mad leaving his daughter, Princess Georgina, in despair.

The narrative is littered with Shakespearean references and rich descriptions of clothing and settings alongside a gentle humour that will appeal to children who enjoy Harry Potter or similar fantasy adventures. There are some wonderful characters with equally wonderful names: the governess, Miss Starebottom, Lord Witloof, the King’s aide and my own particular favourite, Sir Hugo Gushforth, the actor. This is a story that can be read on several levels. Superficially a swashbuckling tale of villains, brave and resourceful children and darkened alleys and rooftops this also conveys important messages about the importance of family, loyalty, cooperation and peace against the threat of greed, betrayal. resentment and war.

An ideal novel for readers in Years 5 and 6 prompting discussion and creative writing, it would also be a treat to read aloud. Cordelia is a fabulous protagonist and the story carefully touches on gender stereotypes and assumptions. A hugely enjoyable story and there is a sequel to look forward to.

I am a retired school librarian with twenty years’ experience in school and public libraries. I now maintain links with school libraries as Chair of the Surrey Branch of the School Library Association and reviews for their quarterly journal. A past reviewer for The Bookbag website I maintain a blog offering regular news updates from the world of children’s books. A contributor to newsletters and journals, children’s books remain just as important to me in retirement as they did when working.
  • Grimwood

    7+ 9+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Lightning Catcher
    The Lightning Catcher

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow
    Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
    The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths
    Danny Chang Does Not Do Maths

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per