Stormy's Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man

Overview

Stormy Kromer is an engineer who loves driving trains. But he has one problem: he can’t find the right hat for a railroad man. He tries a derby, a cowboy hat, and a fireman’s hat. Nothing works. Stormy tells his wife, Ida, not to worry, he’ll figure out something. But Ida isn’t worrying—she’s thinking. If only Stormy would listen . . .

Brought to life by Andrea U’Ren’s colorful paintings, this spirited story is loosely based on the actual ...

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Overview

Stormy Kromer is an engineer who loves driving trains. But he has one problem: he can’t find the right hat for a railroad man. He tries a derby, a cowboy hat, and a fireman’s hat. Nothing works. Stormy tells his wife, Ida, not to worry, he’ll figure out something. But Ida isn’t worrying—she’s thinking. If only Stormy would listen . . .

Brought to life by Andrea U’Ren’s colorful paintings, this spirited story is loosely based on the actual creation in 1903 of the hat still used by railroad workers today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Locomotive engineer Stormy Kromer loves driving steam locomotives. But he cannot find a hat that will stay on his head in the cab of his locomotive. He tries the cowboy hat recommended by his friend Tex, then a pressman's hat from Nate, and a fireman's hat from Mike, but there is a problem with every one of them. Each time he complains, his wife Ida tries to make a suggestion, but Stormy will not listen. Finally, he describes what he needs, and Ida sketches it. Since such a hat does not exist, Ida sews one for him. It is just right. Soon, Ida is making the hats for all the railroaders, and they get so many orders they need a factory. More than a hundred years later, Ida's hat is still considered the "best hat for a railroad man." U'Ren's illustrations inject a comic note as she exaggerates Storm' annoyance during his assorted trials in search of the ideal hat. The images give just enough visual setting to help the tale move along and provide a historic framework in the details, such as Ida's hairdo and her manual sewing machine. Workers are shown as strong and capable. A note fills in the factual background. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
Locomotive engineer Stormy Kromer needs a hat that can stand up to his job, but nothing works. Ida, his wife, tries to offer an idea, but Stormy interrupts and tells her not to worry her "pretty little head" about the problem. Instead, he turns to his buddies for advice. Each one-cowboy, pressman, fireman-recommends his hat, and each hat fails to work for Stormy. Meanwhile, Ida gets fed up listening to Stormy's complaints; she thinks it's time Stormy listens to her ideas for a change. When he finally does, not only does he get the perfect hat, he learns to listen. 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. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374372620
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.56 (w) x 10.18 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

ERIC A. KIMMEL has written many books for children, including Don Quixote and the Windmills, an NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book, illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher. He lives in Portland, Oregon. ANDREA U’REN is the writer/illustrator of Mary Smith, winner of the IRA Children’s Book Award. She, too, lives in Portland, Oregon.

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