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Don't Touch My Hat!    by James Rumford order for
Don't Touch My Hat!
by James Rumford
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Between the covers of an oversize children's book, Jim Rumford provides a tale of the old West with striking illustrations. Added to the merriment are newspaper headlines and clips entitled, 'Hat Saves the Day!', and 'Sheriff John Leaves Sunshine', adding to the amusing details of the Sheriff's life. The Western dialect adds a by-the-campfire flavor to this romp of a story, appropriate for individual or group reading, and bound to be a rib-ticklin' addition to young cowboys' and cowgirls' bookshelves.

We read that 'Sheriff John is a lawman sporting a badge and a ten-gallon hat in the Wild, Wild West ... a town called Sunshine'. John feels that a cowboy's hat represents his personality. And he tells everyone to practice prudence - 'Don't Touch My Hat!' When visitin' the barber shop, or takin' a Saturday bath, Sheriff John's words are well-heeded, 'Fellers, (or 'Sugar') don't touch my hat'!' Wife Lil is not shy about her affection for her own collection of hats - whether feathered, veiled, straw or velvet, and jist 'plain beaver or fancy varmint'. But Lil voices, 'Why, he thinks more of that hat than he does of me!'

With his wide-brimmed ten-gallon, 'sweat-stiff, trail-dusted, bullet-riddled hat' on his head, John is of the mind that there's nothing he can't do. Trouble comes in spades with rustlers at the McDermott's ranch, robbers in the bank, a brawl at the saloon, and 'a range war a-brewin'. One night Deputy Bob yells, 'Sheriff! Come quick! There's trouble aplenty!' John takes no time for lantern lightin', pulls on his pants, jumps into his boots, straps on his gun, as he calls to the Deputy, 'Jist let me git my hat!'

James Rumford grew up watching TV's celebrity Sheriff John, and was entertained by shows like Gunsmoke and Wagon Train. Moving to Honolulu, he acquired a big cowboy hat as protection from the sun, and was often asked, 'Where's your horse?' Well, reading pardners, mosey on down to your favorite bookstore or the local library to feed your hankerin' for a copy of Don't Touch My Hat! I'll meet y'all at the corral roundup!

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