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  • Stormy's Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man
  • Elizabeth Bush
Kimmel, Eric A.; Stormy's Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man; illus. by Andrea U'Ren. Farrar, 2008. 32p ISBN 978-0-374-37262-0 $16.95 R 5-8 yrs

Train engineer Stormy Kromer comes home each night and reports to his wife on a vexing problem—he can't find a hat that will suit his working conditions. The derby catches the wind and blows off when he sticks his head out of the cab; a chinstrap keeps the Stetson on, but the brim obstructs his vision. A newspaper-pressman's hat catches fire too easily from the coal sparks, while a fireman's hat is too hot and heavy. Stormy's long-suffering wife listens patiently to each night's installment of woe and tries to offer suggestions, but Stormy brushes her off with an "Aw, don't you worry your pretty little head." Ida finally blows her stack and demands that her husband articulate exactly what he needs; then she whips up a perfect number that not only becomes his personal pride and the model for the standard railroad man's cap ever after, but also sets them up in business cranking out caps en masse. There's an appropriate huskiness to U'Ren's ink and watercolor scenes, and plenty of visual humor in Stormy's headgear trials. Each experiment in haberdashery concludes with an "I'll figure out somethin'" that invites the audience to moan right along. A source note on George and Ida Kromer adds little information to the story, but simply validating that this is based on a real-life couple will add interest for many listeners. [End Page 479]



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