A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.
The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor– and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.
I have a confession to make: I am 30-years-old and I love picture books. When I’m looking for a picture book, I want something unique, something that has great pictures (obviously), and something that’ll make me think at the end. Jon Klassen’s book, I Want My Hat Back, fits the bill.
First off, I adored the illustrations in the book. The simplicity of them was wonderful and I really liked that Klassen didn’t feel the need to clutter up each page with a lot of background, which he very well could have done. The colourings were fantastic, especially part-way through the book, when our main character, the bear, makes his realization.
Second, I really enjoyed the story. It was simple and pretty much told completely in words, with the pictures relaying very little information. I liked that Klassen didn’t try to rhyme everything, but stayed with simple sentences and adding ‘thank you very much’ to some of them — teaching young children to be polite.
The only thing that got to me was that, in a way, this book teaches kids how to lie. I mean, by the end of the book, the reader will realize what’s going on and they might just think, “Oh, so if I want to keep a secret, less is more.” Of course, you can’t expect that of all children, but I’m sure some would catch on. The other thing is that it almost says, if someone takes something of yours, it’s okay to hurt them. Am I the only one who read this?
Despite my little (or big, depending on how you look at it) fault, I really enjoyed this book. I’m glad that it was the New York Times’s Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2011 because it really was great.
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