Boss of the Plains

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The story of John Stetson and how he came to create the most popular hat west of the Mississippi.

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Meade, Holly 1998 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. 32 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

At last-paperback versions of all-time favorite children's books from Dorling Kindersley! Every young reader will find something fascinating on this exciting list. Affordable prices and outstanding quality make Dorling Kindersley Paperbacks the perfect choice for helping children read every day.

The story of John Stetson and how he came to create the most popular hat west of the Mississippi.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This picture book, a mix of storytelling and brand-name placement, makes a legend of John Batterson Stetson and takes its title from a trademark cowboy hat. Stetson, the son of a New Jersey hatmaker, goes west in the 1850s. Although disappointed in his quest for gold, he soon finds that his family trade comes in handy. One spread shows, step-by-step, how he turns rabbit pelts into felt to make a snug tent, and later he applies the same technique to construct a broad-brimmed hat. When he returns east and resumes hatmaking, he designs the "Boss of the Plains" to guard Western heads from the "burning sunshine, drenching rain, whipping wind, or swirling snow" of the frontier. While the detailed sidebars may trip up the pacing of Carlson's (More Than Moccasins) narrative for some readers, accounts like the felt-making episode will satisfy even the most curious cowpoke. Meade (Hush!) composes busy paper, pencil and paint collages on speckled or pin-striped brown stock, suggestive of rocks, dust and Western apparel. She imagines Stetson as a grinning, rusty-bearded gent, and pictures folks of all ages trying on the signature hat. The fresh and lively art straddles East and West, adding panache to the facts. Young cowhands with a hankering for the Wild West will tip their hats to this tale. Ages 6-10. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Young cowhands with a hankering for the Wild West will tip their hats to this tale," said PW of this picture book profile about the man who invented the Stetson. Ages 4-10. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Cheryl Peterson
As a young boy, John Stetson worked in his family's hat maker shop in New Jersey. He listened to tales of western adventures and dreamed of going West himself someday. Years later, Stetson contracted tuberculosis and decided he could wait no longer to pursue his dream. Off he went to the hills of Colorado, and while digging for gold, realized that a wide brimmed hat would be a great help. He designed a hat to keep the scorching sun off his face, the whipping wind from blinding him, and the rain from dripping down his back. At first, the other miners teased him about his funny looking hat, but the practicality of it caught on, and his high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat was soon in demand. Nowadays, "Stetson" hats are still being made in dozens of styles, and are an important part of Western culture. John Stetson's success story is accompanied by Meade's colorfully painted illustrations depicting western life. A picture of John Stetson and a brief biography are also included.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4Usually taken for granted as a symbol of the West, the Stetson hat, or "Boss of the Plains," has finally had its story told. In a picture-book format, with fictionalized conversation, Carlson weaves a lively and information-packed narrative that will have wide appeal. Tracing John Stetson's journey from his family's East Coast hat business to Pikes Peak, CO, his inspiration in creating the first "Boss of the Plains" for his own personal use, and his eventual production and marketing of the popular hat, Carlson demonstrates a storyteller's expertise in pacing, plot-building, and dialogue. The color cut-paper illustrations convey the activity and bustle of the boom-town West. Meade's scenes include women, children, Mexicans, and African Americans in a way that portrays the diversity of the West more accurately than usual, but because of this, the absence of Native Americans (except for the distant tipis on the first page) and Asian immigrants is more noticeable. A bibliography and acknowledgments at the end reveal that this entertaining picture book is indeed a well-researched work of nonfiction, appropriate for storytelling or reports.Nina Lindsay, Vista School, Albany, CA
School Library Journal
In 1859, hat maker John Stetson contracted tuberculosis. Aware of the health benefits of a drier climate, Stetson headed west for opportunities and adventure. While working outdoors in Colorado, he realized the need for protection from the harsh sun. The durable, multi-functional Stetson hat was born. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Carlson celebrates the crowning (so to speak) achievement of John Batterson Stetson, a Philadelphia hatmaker who went West for his health in the 1850s and invented the emblematic piece of cowboy gear still identified with him, heavy enough to keep off the rain, wide enough to block the sun, tough enough to stand years of abuse—or, as some said, "you can smell it across a room, but you just can't wear it out." Meade surrounds this lively odyssey with a kaleidoscope of brightly painted collage cowboy scenes, taking her ruddy-bearded artisan from his boyhood home in New Jersey to the gold fields of Pikes Peak, then back East where he found his fortune at last. Carlson closes her account with a biographical note while a cowboy poet's heartfelt tribute appears on the back of the jacket. Steer readers who want to know more about Stetson, or about western fashion in general, to M. Jean Greenlaw's Ranch Dressing (1993). (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789424792
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.16 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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