cover image Casey's New Hat

Casey's New Hat

Tricia Gardella. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-72035-6

Apple (Sheep in a Jeep) adds characteristic warmth to this chronicle of a young rancher's quest to replace her too-small cowboy hat. Reinforcing the traditional nature of Gardella's (Just Like My Dad) tale, which could just as easily have taken place a generation ago as today, Apple's jauntily sketchy colored pencil and watercolor illustrations depict a slightly weather-beaten world of blue jeans and cowboy hats, hand-hewn wooden fences and feed barns with potbellied stoves. The sprightly heroine's face displays a comical range of expressions as she tries on hats of varying sizes, shapes and styles, rejecting each contender. The homespun tale takes a well-worn path at the conclusion, as Casey decides that only Grandpa's beat-up hat will fit the bill: ""That hat nearly drowned in the river.... That hat has been crushed by a stampede,"" he tells her, as if to dissuade her. A good-humored little yarn. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)