"Labor Day Hats" (J.H. Everett )
It was going to be one of those topsy-turvy Isobel Iversy days. It was Labor Day and Isobel and Jennifer were trying on hats to wear to the town parade.
Isobel loved the old straw hat Grandpa gave her. When she put it on, her freckles faded, her eyes glowed, and she felt beautiful. "Hats change people," she told her friend Jennifer. "There's magic inside hats. It pours into people when they put hats on. Poof! People change. They're different."
Jennifer grinned. "Prove it!" So Isobel was off and running. The girls ran into the kitchen where Isobel's mom, a police officer, was getting ready to go to work.
Her mom smiled and said, "Grandma and Grandpa have parade costumes for you." Then she put on the hat that went with her uniform and said, "I'll see you all at the parade," and walked briskly out the door.
Isobel turned to Jennifer. "Did you notice Mom's hat? Poof! It turns her into a cop!"
"Cool!" Jennifer said. A fire engine turned onto their street. It parked next door in front of Jennifer's house.
"Daddy's a volunteer firefighter," said Jennifer. Jennifer's Daddy waved to them and drove off as he put on his hat. "Poof! He's a fireman now. It's the hat," Isobel said. A bass drum thumped. Trumpets blared. A soldier carried the American flag and a sailor proudly stood next to him with the California State flag.
"They're the Nguyen brothers. They look cool in their military uniforms. Do you suppose, Poof! Poof! Their hats changed them?" Jennifer asked.
Two neighbors rode past on horseback. "Look! Those hats changed them into cowboys. "Poof! Poof!" She started to laugh.
The parade was about to start so the girls ran until they arrived, out of breath, at Grandpa's house. Grandma and Grandpa wore clown costumes topped with red, white and blue clown hats.
The girls grinned at each other and gasped, "Poof! "Poof!"
"Hurry up, kids! Here are your costumes," Grandpa said.
Isobel and Jennifer dressed in red and white blouses with long blue skirts. Grandma put red, white and blue makeup on their faces. Grandpa gave them paper hats.
"These are Labor Day Hats," he said. The girls put them on. "Ahh! The hats make all the difference. Now you are my Labor Day Belles."
Jennifer looked at Isobel and deep inside of her a giggle started. "Poof! We're bells, ding-dong!" she said.
Isobel said, "Poof!" and both girls burst out laughing. They couldn't stop laughing. They snorted with laughter. The more they tried to stop, the more laughter bubbled up. Just when Jennifer thought she could stop, Isobel said "Poof!" and they started all over again. The laughter was contagious. Grandma and Grandpa laughed too.
They heard the band play "Stars and Stripes Forever."
"The parade is starting!" Grandma cried. As they all ran to join the parade, Grandma asked, "Isobel Iversy, what tickled your funny bone?"
"The hats, Grandma," Isobel said. "These magical Labor Day hats."
Special thanks to J.H. Everett for this week's illustration. To see more of Everett's work, visit jheverett.com.
For more Kids' Reading Room, visit latimes.com/kids.