Friday, October 5, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Stormy’s Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man
Author/Illustrator: Eric A. Kimmel / Andrea U’Ren
Publisher/Date: Farrar, Straus and Giroux / 2008
Genre/Audience: Historical Fiction / Ages 5+
Themes: History, trains, hats, women, sewing

Opening: “Stormy Kromer was an engineer.  He drove a locomotive on the Red Stack line from St. Paul to Chicago. Stormy loved driving trains.”

Synopsis: From book jacket – Stormy Kromer is an engineer who loves driving trains. But he has one problem with his job: he can’t find a hat that’s right for a railroad man. He tries a derby, a cowboy hat, a presssman’s 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…

Why I Love This Book:
At the library, the boys and I grabbed this book because it had to do with trains.  But I really love that it is a historical account of something we always associate with train engineers: their headgear!  Bravo to Eric Kimmel for researching this obscure topic and bringing it to life for the young (and not so young!) audience.  I also love the message that women have good ideas and should have a voice.  Stormy learned this from his wife, Ida!

Author Eric Kimmel reads his stories on his webpage (not Stormy’s Hat, though) -

The Stormy Kromer Mercantile still exists and makes hats!  Check out their history page -

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. An unusual combination of themes. I like that!

  2. What a neat way to present history -- and trains! Since my first word was "hat" this sounds like just the book for me!

  3. I liked this one a lot too - great illustrations!

  4. I love books like this! It's amazing how many interesting things you can find out about one tiny piece of history.

  5. Oh, I LOVE the sound of this book. Of course now I'm dying to know how Ida came up with the idea, so I'm going to have to search it out and read it! :) I love books that explain in a fun way where something we take for granted comes from. Thanks so much for adding this one to our list, Laura!

  6. Very interesting! I will add this to my list of books to pick up at the library.

  7. Love to see great reads for boys. Even I loved trains as a kid. This sounds like a lot of fun and I want to know the ending. Nice choice.

  8. This sounds like a unique book. I really enjoy historical fiction. I'm glad your library had it to share with all of us!

  9. Great choice for PPBF, Laura! Thanks for sharing love trains...and this one looks like there are some lessons to learn amidst the fun. :)
    Thanks also for the resource list!