From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Set in the early 1900s, this engaging picture book introduces George "Stormy" Kromer, who loves everything about being a railroad engineer—except that he just can't find the right hat for the job. He tries several different toppers to no avail: a derby blows away; a cowboy hat is too large; a pressman's folded-newspaper hat catches on fire; and a fireman's helmet is just too heavy. With each failure, his wife tries to offer a suggestion, but he brushes her off, until Ida finally puts her foot down: "Either listen to what I have to say, or stop complaining." Stormy describes all the features of his ideal headgear, and Ida, an accomplished seamstress, designs and sews it for him. Soon orders are coming in from all over the world and Stormy and Ida open a factory. An author's note tells more about the real couple and how they developed the cap that railroad workers still wear today. U'Ren's vibrant paintings capture the palette and motion of Midwestern landscapes and city scenes. The illustrations have an unforced multiculturalism (Stormy's cowboy friend is African American; a Chinese-American storekeeper stacks hats; and a painting of a modern-day railroad yard shows individuals of different ethnicities). With a snappy, high-interest story and connections to hats, history, trains, gender equality, and industrialism, this book is a gem for libraries and classrooms.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
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"U'Ren's vibrant paintings capture the palette and motion of Midwestern landscapes and city scenes. . . . With a snappy high-interest story and connections to hats, history, trains, gender equality, and industrialism, this book is a gem for libraries and classrooms." —School Library Journal
“Gentle lessons about listening, respecting women and creative problem-solving are delivered free of didacticism in this timely story based on historical fact. U’Ren’s witty, colorful illustrations enhance the playful tone. The depiction of early-20th-century work and home life is an added bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Kimmel draws upon his experience writing folk tales to adapt the history of the birth of the engineer’s cap to the familiar, silly-story structure, while U’Ren maximizes the comedy with spot-on facial expressions of doleful determination and jubilant triumph.” —Booklist
“There’s an appropriate huskiness to U’Ren’s ink and watercolor scenes, and plenty of visual humor in Stormy’s headgear trials.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books