Reading Activity: Millinery for Children: preparing for the Spring Racing Carnival

Many of the activities Cam and I undertake are inspired by the books we read together. But, sometimes the activity comes before we find the right book.

A few weeks ago we popped into our local craft and haberdashery store. At the front of the store was a display of hats, fascinators, feathers, mesh, flowers and ribbons. They caught Cam’s eye and she ran straight to them asking what they were for.

I told her about the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, and about the tradition of dressing up and wearing hats to the race events. This carnival is a pretty big deal in Victoria; we’re even treated to a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup.

Feeling a little nostalgic myself (I love attending the Spring Racing Carnival and haven’t been since Cam was born), I let her choose a fascinator and a selection of embellishments. I thought we could host our own Spring Racing event at home, but we’d certainly need hats first.

The feathers and the flowers were attached to wire so, by concentrating very hard, Cam could weave them through the holes in the fascinator. This was a fantastic activity to assist in the development of her dexterity.

To ensure the fascinator gets a long life in the dress-up box, I used the hot glue gun to hold Cam’s pieces in place.

As we were working on our hats, Cam remembered a book that was hidden on our bookcase. “This is like Milly Maloo’s hat”

And so, we fished the book from the bookcase to read while Cam’s fascinator was drying.  You can find the book details at the end of this post. Now that Cam has her own fascinator, Milly Maloo and the Miracle Glue has become her favourite book.

Here is little Cam, proud as punch and ready for the races. She’s quite the milliner. I wonder if we can fit in a visit to Emirates Stakes Family Day before B2 arrives. Wouldn’t it be a waste for this fascinator to go unnoticed?

Cam, however, thinks that wearing a racing hat means you are the one  who races the horses.

Book Review:

Milly Maloo and the Miracle Glue is a colourful and quirky rhyming book which is fun to read aloud.

One afternoon, Milly Maloo (a wacky and colourful artist with flair) is invited to attend a garden party with the Prime Minister, but she needs a suitable hat to wear.

She pays a visit to her sensible and conservative next door neighbour, Penelope, who lends Milly a very plain hat. Milly decides to add a shiny red sash, long feathers and plastic flowers to the hat.

Everyone at the party thinks the hat is marvellous, but when Milly tries to remove the embellishments, she discovers that she’s used powerful glue and they are not coming off.

Thankfully Penelope loves her fabulous new hat.

Milly Maloo and the Miracle Glue is a light-hearted story of friendship, fun and creativity.

Book Details:

Author: Melanie Koster

Illustrator: Sarah Nelisiwe

ISBN: 978-1869439651

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand, March 2011

RRP: $15.99 (aud)

Have you got a favourite picture book about hats that you like to read with your children?

Reading Activity: Millinery for Children: preparing for the Spring Racing Carnival


  1. I love The Magic Hat by Mem Fox :-)

  2. A relatively recent hat book that my children love is ‘Clara Button and the Magical Hat’ by Amy de La Haye. While recommending books. Have you seen Robie Harris’ ‘ Hi New Baby’, the sequel to ‘Happy Birthday Baby!’

  3. I found your post on Pinterest, the fascination turned out beautiful. I love this activity.
    We do enjoy the Fancy Nancy books and her great accessories.

  4. Isn’t she clever! Looks beautiful! And yes, you’ll at least have to have your own party at home if B2 decides to arrive early!

  5. Oh, how precious is that last photo?! Adorable. Love that she did the fascinator herself. Great idea :)

  6. What a truly different and creative idea Jackie! And doesn’t she look gorgeous!!

  7. What a cute idea!! I love it! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  8. This if fantastic! I love the pics for Cam working away- so determined! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Cam, your fascinator is totally divine! What a clever, creative girl you are – you definitely have the milliner’s knack! Milly Maloo would be very impressed indeed.

  10. What a gorgeous fascinator! I see The Magic Hat has already been suggested (that was the first book that popped into my head) . My younger two children also enjoy Mrs Honey’s Hat.

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