I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Published: 27th September 2011Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

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.

This is the first book in Klassen’s Hat trilogy and it is a brilliant story that both children and adults can enjoy. Ideal to be read alone or out loud the story is told entirely through dialogue with Klassen’s wit and straightforward sentences as Bear asks everyone he meets if they have seen his hat.

I loved the call back to the earlier dialogue and I liked that the bear politely went through all the animals he found, each having a different response. It never gets repetitive and Klassen includes enough animals that it is long enough but also has a few surprises.

The illustrations are part of the charm because the expression Klassen gives the animals are fantastic, and a lot is said through staring. The colours are dulled but still stand out on the page, the focus is on the animal interactions with only a little background but it isn’t missed. A lot of the time too the narrative is a companion to the dialogue, one not quite working without the other. There is something magical about Klassen’s work that makes the entire experience delightful.

The dialogue is the real gem and Bear is a great character. As the story progresses you see that Bear is not a bad bear, he just wants his hat back. He is polite and helpful and no one surely can blame him for anything that happens. If anything even happened at all. Which is doesn’t.

A fantastic beginning to a trilogy. It’s simple, yet clever, and it is certainly unexpected.

You can purchase I Want My Hat Back via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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