“Have you seen my hat?”
Our friend Mique, who is a children’s book illustrator, gave us I Want My Hat Back by Canadian author Jon Klassen for our baby’s birth. Because of her trade and her passion, Mique knows a good picture book when she sees one.
I Want My Hat Back is indeed very special. It’s a simple, whimsical, funny, and strangely addictive read. My husband has been reading it to our baby almost everyday over the last couple of months. Our baby is mesmerized by it. The illustrations in different shades of brown stand out nicely on the dark cream paper. It makes it visually attractive for very young readers.
The plot is a classic whodunit; a likable yet slightly daft bear investigates the loss of his beloved hat in his surrounding animal world.
He questions the animals he meets one at a time: “Have you seen my hat?” The turtle hasn’t seen it, neither have the snake, the deer or the fox. Not much luck there. The rabbit, who is wearing a red pointy hat, denies having seen any hat and requests that the bear stop asking him anymore questions. At this stage, any decent detective would have spotted the thief, and caught him red-hatted. The bear doesn’t, and there lie the irony and comedy in the book. That and the end, where the bear gets his own back, but I won’t spoil for you.
The age group is labelled as 3+, but we know how relative this can be, so don’t let this stop you from reading this fantastic book to a younger audience.
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta