When I saw this book, I was immediately drawn by the simple cover illustration that conveys a large bear’s utter melancholy. I immediately ordered it for my Children’s Storybook Collection at my library.
Jon Klassen, the author and illustrator, does a really fantastic job in this story with a twist. Like “Tadpole’s Promise” by Jeanne Willis, there is a wry ending that might not be for everyone, but possessing an off-kilter sense of humor, I loved both books.
I Want My Hat Back is Klassen’s first foray into the double-threat of writer and illustrator. I love his style! It’s so delightfully understated that is can really be a fun read-aloud with different voices and tones. While I am no artist, I can appreciate an artfully rendered book. His color palette is very neutral, almost devoid of colors other than brown. All is muted and very natural. What I’m trying to say is that his universe is completely realized and ever so sly. Adults will enjoy this book as much as the kids! Curious? Here’s the gist:
Bear has lost his hat. He really, really wants it back. Morose and oversized, he wanders from page to page, asking his woodland compatriots. The text is so minimal that you can’t help but draw your eyes back to the ever-despondent (but ever-so-polite) bear again and again. Repeatedly, bear is informed that his hat has not been seen, but wait! Look again! There’s a wily traitor in his midst. Who could it be? It is only when bear collapses onto the ground that he receives the right questions from Deer, and he is able to reunite with his (adorable) red pointy hat.