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Stormy's Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man Hardcover – April 29, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374372624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374372620
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,682,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric A. Kimmel is a native New Yorker who lives in Oregon. He was born in Brooklyn, NY where he learned to love books and traditional stories from an early age. He could hear five different languages without leaving his block. Eric taught teachers as a professor of Education at Indiana University at South Bend and Portland State University. His favorite classes were children's literature, language arts, storytelling, and handwriting. He left the university in 1993 to become a full-time writer, a dream he had had since kindergarten.

Eric's books have won numerous awards. He and his wife Doris have traveled all over the world, sharing his books and stories with school children in China, Africa, and Turkey.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although Stormy Kromer enjoyed his job as a railroad engineer, he had a persistent problem: he could not find an appropriate hat to withstand the rather harsh and varied conditions of operating a locomotive. A light derby hat blew off, a wide cowboy hat got in the way, a paper pressman's hat caught on fire, and a heavy fireman's hat gave him a headache. Unfortunately Stormy listened only to his friends' suggestions and initially failed to notice that Ida, his wife and a skilled seamstress, had some excellent ideas for putting an end to his difficulties. Ida's ideas led her to create a new canvas hat that satisfied Stormy's criteria and became the foundation of a new business producing hats for railroad workers everywhere.

This unique book, based on actual events, has a light-hearted tone but a serious set of lessons in economics about innovation, entrepreneurship, human resources, and jobs. Ida saw a need, thought creatively about how to design a product to meet that need, and together with Stormy adopted a business plan to mass-produce that item. The story also teaches children about a variety of jobs within and outside the railroad industry. Not to be lost in the mix is an important lesson about gender equality. Stormy's dismissive treatment of Ida proved counterproductive; only when he listened to her demands to be heard did the problem get resolved.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was put together wrong. You had to turn it upside down halfway through the book to finish reading it. But the story was good. It has a special place in our Stormy Kromer store
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What's with all the put-downs in this book? The husband is constantly interrupting his wife and putting her down. He only listens when she threatens to leave him! Not sure what this is modeling for kids -- not a successful way to behave in marriage, for sure.

It's cute the way the book shows Stormy trying on all the hats of different professions, and of course, Ida solves his problem for him. I don't know the story of Stomry and Ida, and maybe it was as rocky and disrespectful as this book portrays. But if it wasn't why would you add THAT?

Parent note: uses "golly" as a replacement word for God's name.
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