I Want My Hat Back
Posted by Tracy Poff on March 14, 2012
“Have you seen my hat?” / “No. I haven’t seen your hat.” / “OK. Thank you anyway.”
I’d like to say that great works of art have been built on less, but I doubt it’s true. However, I Want My Hat Back, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen (who received the 2010 Canadian Governor General’s Award for his illustrations in Cat’s Night Out by Caroline Stutson, and worked on the animated film Coraline), is a lovely children’s book, all the same.
The story is simple: the bear, pictured on the cover, has lost his hat, and wants to find it again. He asks the other creatures he encounters whether they have seen his hat, but none of them have–or so they say.
It’s difficult to convey the humor of the book without simply including the whole book in this post. The simple, sparse illustrations, together with the simple, repetitive dialogue, are charming, and the ending, when the bear realizes where his hat is, and goes to retrieve it, is hilarious. The calm, understated way the bear goes about asking after his hat, and his despair when he can’t find it (“What if I never see it again? What if nobody ever finds it? My poor hat. I miss it so much.”) combine to make a very funny scene, too.
Though I’ve not tested this one with kids myself, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that both children and adults find it very funny. I personally recommend it to anyone looking for a humorous children’s book, and anyone who just wants their hat back.