STORMY’S HAT

JUST RIGHT FOR A RAILROAD MAN

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)

Pub Date: May 6, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-374-37262-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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THE SEALS ON THE BUS

With a tiger at the wheel, the big purple bus rolls all over town, picking up a menagerie of passengers from sheep (“BAAAH, BAAAH, BAAAH”) to vipers—get it? — (“HISS, HISS, HISS”) to skunks (“SSSS, SSSS, SSSS”) before disgorging its dismayed human riders (“HELP! HELP! HELP!”) at an outdoor party. Though wild creatures waddle, tramp, or slither aboard by troops there's always room for more in Karas’s (Raising Sweetness, 1999, etc.) gleeful paint-and-paper collage scenes. The scene on the bus is bound to provoke a great reaction and reading (or honking) along is inevitable. It's a frolicsome spin on the familiar play rhyme, and a surefire alternative or follow-up to Maryann Kovalski's Wheels on the Bus (1987) or Paul Zelinsky's classic popup version (1990). Hop onboard. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-5952-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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