What You Need to Know:
• This hilarious account of a bear’s search for his missing hat is an excellent read aloud.
• The rabbit’s questionable fate at the end of the story may have some readers asking questions.
• This is one picture book that may be more appropriate for an older reader.
• Jon Klassen illustrated The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.
• I Want My Hat Back is the first book that Klassen has both written and illustrated.
This story is so simple, yet so clever. I know we tend to think of picture books as being for ages 4 to 8 but I often find that they appeal to all ages, and that is definitely the case with this book. I read it to some 9 and 12 year olds and the kids were hysterical. In fact, they were still talking about it days later. The story begins with a bear’s search for his lost hat. He encounters a few other animals and inquires about his missing hat, to which he gets some funny answers, like: “What is a hat?”. He comes upon a rabbit that is wearing a red hat but the bear doesn’t seem to notice, not even when the rabbit guiltily replies: “I would not steal a hat.” Later, when the bear suddenly realizes that “I HAVE SEEN MY HAT”, he retraces his steps past all the animals, finds the rabbit and demands his hat back. Let’s just say things don’t go so well for the rabbit. When a squirrel later asks the bear if he’s seen a rabbit wearing a hat, the bear’s not-so-subtle reply says it all!
“No. Why are you asking me.
I haven’t seen him.
I haven’t seen any rabbits
I would not eat a rabbit.
Don’t ask me any more questions.”
This book delivers the perfect combination of appealing illustrations and a very funny story. The delivery is subtle and leaves readers the opportunity to use their imaginations. The use of red at key moments in the story is a nice contrast to the muted tones used otherwise. There are plenty of little details in the illustrations to help readers follow along, like the way the text changes color to indicate different speakers and the eyes show surprise or follow the action. Don’t miss out on this chance to laugh along with your readers!
Check out this You Tube video that shows a trailer for the book.
2011, 40 pages
Excellent Read Aloud, Feelings, Humor, Talking Animals
• Why didn’t the bear notice his hat the first time he saw the rabbit?
• Have you ever lost something that you loved? How did you feel?
• What do you think happened to the rabbit in the end?
• Of the animals that the bear encounters, which one do you like the best?
• How did you feel when the bear and the rabbit lied? Is it ever OK to tell a lie?