“I WANT MY HAT BACK,” by Jon Klassen, Candlewick Press, Sept. 27, 2011, $15.99 (ages 3-8)
A bear’s hat is missing, and he wants it back. As he goes searching, he queries each animal he comes across about the location of his hat. Each exchange is polite and patient, but the answer is always, “No.”
Poor bear, nobody has seen his hat. “What if I never see it again,” he wonders sadly. As he ponders his hat’s fate, a deer comes by and questions his despondency. He then asks, “What does your hat look like?” which sparks the bear’s memory almost instantaneously. Bear sees red, and he remembers where he last saw his hat.
Without words, “I Want My Hat Back” would be little more than delightfully simple pictures paired together. But when added to Jon Klassen‘s dialogue, the tale takes on a life of its own. This is a repetitive tale with sly nods to the more observant readers. Children will love the visual humor culminating with the tables turning for the bear and one of his acquaintances.