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She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!
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She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  164 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Feathers on ladies' hats were becomming more and more popular. Harriet Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall believed something had to be done. Fashion was killing birds as well as women's chances to have the right to vote and be listened to. For who would listen to a woman with a dead bird on her head? And if the senseless slaughter for a silly fashion was not stopped, in a ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published April 21st 1999 by Disney-Hyperion (first published October 10th 1995)
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Community Reviews

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What can I say about She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head! but wow! I have always had somewhat of a love affair with birds and been disgusted by not only the historic tendency of the fashion industry to put feathers and the like on hats and other articles of clothing and accessories, but also by the fact that some if not many of these practices and tradtions are still happening. However, I did not know that ladies in the late 19th and early 20th century were actually wearing not only feathers, ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 25, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bird lovers; history buffs
This is such a serious subject, in my opinion, but it was a fun book too. The story and pictures both had a lot of humor, and it was done tastefully, as it was very respectful of the subject and the women featured.

Before I read this book, I had no idea how/why the (in this case the Massachusetts) Audubon Society was formed, nor did I know its connection to the Suffrage movement. This is a historical fiction account of the two women who were the force behind this organization. There’s an author’s
Jan 01, 2015 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This story was selected as one of the books for the March 2010 - Outstanding Women reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Tricia Douglas
Thanks to my Goodreads buddies for putting me onto this wonderful book. Basically, this is the story behind the women who helped start the Audubon Society. When women's hats were becoming adorned with actual birds instead of just their feathers, Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall said enough was enough. This was in the late 1890s when women had little claim to power or course of action even when it came to voting rights. These two women took the bird movement to new level and became involved in bir ...more
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Scowls, gasps and frowns abound in this surprisingly informative yet thoroughly entertaining account of the Audubon Society, its origins and its triumph over the silliness of the dead-bird fashion industry.

Listen to our chat about this book on the Children's Book Podcast.
Apr 11, 2009 C rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
I like this one most for its historical value--women's history. But it is a nice historical children's book in that the story is actually entertaining and the illustrations engaging. I think we just have to have more women's history in our children's repertoire.
Lin Lin
Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall were instrumental women that protected birds from being killed in a time when people wore dead birds and feathers on their hats. They established the Audubon Society in Massachusetts and the Society continued to protect endangered species.
Jun 29, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
This is a good book to read after "The boy who loved to draw birds". It talks about women and men who formed a club to save the birds and they called it the Audubon Society after John Audubon.
Dec 17, 2014 Zack rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-aloud
I would choose this book as a read aloud because it's an incredibly fun history lesson and the main characters are very lovable. The story is an interesting part of American history that should be talked about since the message of both environmental activism and women not being defined by the clothes they wear is still very valid even in this century.
The story is about two women trying to end a fashion that involves the killing of birds so they can be stuffed and mounted on women's hats in the e
Sep 11, 2012 Peacegal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humane-education
This is an inspiring, colorfully-illustrated book about two early 20th century women who singlehandedly took on the then-popular feathered hat trade. During the height of this absurd fashion craze, hundreds of millions of wild birds were slaughtered for vanity, wiping some species out entirely.

Harriet Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall started the first chapter of the Audubon society to spread the word about the damage of the feather trade and pass laws to protect birds. Ironically, the famous
May 12, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
I thought this was an educational book that featured something in history that I had never heard about. By putting it in the form of a picture book and having fun illustrations it did not feel educational or tedious at all. I was interested in the story and how things would work out and I still got a vivid picture of what it might have looked like at that time period. Kudos to the authors for creating a book that would appeal to a wide range of audience and still have an easy format. I would pro ...more
I clipped a review of this book soon after it was published, and I filed it with other reviews of books I intend to read some day. A good 15 years later, I finally found the book at a garage sale. (There are times when it pays to be patient.) I had hoped for a more child-friendly text, but there are a few messages that come through loud and clear:
* Individuals can make a difference.
* Fashions can be ridiculous.
* Birds are protected by law.
I wish the artist had included younger women (and even gi
Sam Grace
Oct 05, 2015 Sam Grace rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: feminists, environmentalists, historians, and parents of activist children
Fun illustrations and a fun story, this is going on the list for books I plan to educate my kids with.

The two women who founded the Audubon society had the kind of indignation I really connected with as a kid, and their response was equally comprehensible. Upper class white ladies, they started a letter-writing campaign shaming their peers into swearing off the dead-bird hats that was making birds go extinct, they started a club, they went around organizing, and when they managed to change polic
A fictionalized account of the founding of the Massachusetts Audubon Society begun by Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall. When birds began appearing on fashionable ladies hats, Minna nd Harriet went into action appealing to all who would hear them to stop the senseless killing and the potential endangerment and extinction of many species of birds. The story is kid-friendly and the illustrations are colorful and really bring home the point of the story.

A great introduction for saving our species an
Feb 09, 2013 Pam rated it really liked it
Adults, who won't read children's books, miss out on so much. This book is an excellent example of an interesting incident in American history that is basically unknown to most adults. As always Kathryn Lasky has written an great story and the illustrations by David Catrow are colorful and delightful. I especially appreciated Lasky's "Author's Note: at the end which gave more information about the main characters Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall as well as the link between the Audubon movement an ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
Delightfully illustrated history book for children about two proper Boston society ladies who have good manners and absolutely no tolerance for birds being used as fashion accents, especially on fancy ladies' hats. So Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall set out to do something about it, helping to establish the Audubon Society along the way, and present some of the earliest efforts of the women's suffrage movement to change society for the better. Recommended, especially for nature lovers and pictur ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Pita-eater rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is the true story of two cousins who petitioned to get birds and feathers removed from women's hats. They started one of the first Audubon Societies, and their persuasiveness led to many laws banning the sale of bird features. Kathryn Lasky's storytelling is engaging, vivid, and witty.

Four stars for Lasky's amazing text. But, two stars for the caricatured people in Catrow's illustrations - not my favorite kind of art.
Jul 11, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it
Ms. Lasky is one of my favorite authors of nonfiction books. She did yet another wonderful job of making the topic of conservation and an environmental movement funny yet serious. I'm not sure why the artists won an award for his work though; while the illustrations are nice enough, it's really the writing that shines in this book. He made Harriet and Minna look like two dour old ladies who frown on everything.
Caitlin Barclay
This is an entertaining history storybook if there ever was one! This story tells the story of the Audobon Society and touches on women's suffrage movements. This book does a great job of putting it into a real-life plot rather than just spitting out facts. I think students will enjoy this book because of how it is written and also because it is information that is not usually brought up in the classroom!
Miss Amanda
gr k-2 illustrated fiction

1896, Boston, MA. Tells the story of how cousins Mina Hall and Harriet Hemenway, horrified that bird feathers and even dead birds were being used to decorate hats, founded the Audubon Society and helped get laws passed against using birds and bird feathers to decorate hats.

Great story. Nice balance of illustrations/text. I liked the illustrations.
Apr 17, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
ReReading Rainbow: A Three Hat Day
I don't usually love this type of illustration -- too frentic/ugly but in this book it worked to illustrate the craziness of wearing birds on hats and the energy and brazeness of their rescuers. It was a bit confusing to read but we loved the topic and learning the history of the Audubon Society.
About two women's quest to save the birds. Focusing on the ban of feathers/birds on hats (this is the turn of the century)- there are even comments against hunting ducks and eating songbird pie- the story follows two cousins who began the Audubon Society. Very cute, and especially a great read for girls- the female cousins start organizing, go undercover, it's great! All white folks.
Apr 25, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing
The ladies in the town are wearing rare and endangered birds on their hats as fashion. One young lady decides to take a stand and stop all the needless killing of these beautiful birds. A great read aloud for all ages and a great read alone for third grade and above.
Lois V.
Jan 21, 2013 Lois V. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun text and hilarious illustrations carry this story about the activities of two founders of the MA Audubon Soc. that influenced bird-protection laws and women's right to vote, A.N. explains reason for writing fiction.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Interested in an entertaining version about how the Audubon Society was created? Lasky tells the story of 2 women in the 1800's who created the Audubon Society and stopped the killing of birds for decorative purposes.
Abbey Madison
This story is a historically-based story of the events between Minna Hall and Harriet Hemenway and their forming of a club to protect birds. It shows the start of the Audubon Society in a artistic and witty way. I would use this in a 3rd or 4th grade classroom.
Nathan Willard
This book is hilarious. While the prime story of the creation of the Audobon Society is interesting, it is written in exactly the style you would have expected from stereotypical early 20th-century Boston Brahmins unable to speak to children, but unaware of their weaknesses.
Apr 16, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Chandra
Well! This was fun, educational, and entertaining! My niece seemed to enjoy the story quite well, and both she and my nephew enjoyed the pictures! I enjoyed reading this one--the voice and demeanor of Miss Minna were lots of fun to bring to life!
Oct 20, 2010 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
David Catrow's illustrations make it worth looking at this book. It turns out the story is based on the truth of the beginnings of the Audubon Society and the two main characters are real. But, it was a lengthy story and I just am not convinced a child would stay with it, I didn't as an adult.
Patty Morrison
Oct 01, 2015 Patty Morrison rated it really liked it
Women in 1896 were considered second class citizens...and yet these women found a way to protect the birds, change and enforce law! A 'featherless hats' off to the author and illustrator! What a great kids book!
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.

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