February 13, 2019

I Want My Hat Back

Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press
40 pp.
Ages 3-8
New edition for release March 2019

With the release of this new board book edition of Jon Klassen's award-winning I Want My Hat Back, I am pleased that I can review this gem and introduce new readers to this delightful story. Originally published in 2011, a year before I started this blog, I missed out on reviewing Jon Klassen's first picture book, though I remember well sharing it with little ones.
From I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
A bear has lost his hat and seeks it by asking a fox, a frog, a rabbit, a turtle, a snake, and an armadillo, "Have you seen my hat?" Their answers are varied, some confused, some preoccupied, and some defensive but all are negative. Ever polite, even helping a turtle to climb a rock, the bear often replies with a "Thank you anyway."
From I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
It's not until a deer asks the bear what the hat looks like that he realizes he did see his hat. Mystery solved but what will bear do to get his hat back?
From I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Those who've read this book will all remember the twist that I Want My Hat Back takes and those who have not are in for a surprise but one that requires little ones to read the clues. From a series of repetitive enquiries to the revelation of the theft and finally the bear's response, both evident and not, I Want My Hat Back propels the reader from beginning to end, with subtle but dark humour that suggests consequences for actions.

In I Want My Hat Back, as well as in its sequels This is Not My Hat (Candlewick, 2012) and We Found a Hat (Candlewick, 2016), Jon Klassen beguiles with his simple but characteristic illustrations of animals and their landscapes. But the simplicity is hardly unsophisticated. It may be more reminiscent of folk art with its clarity of line and austere backgrounds but the art is punchy, just like the story. Bear may get his hat back but it's not a happy ending for the rabbit. Be prepared. Life is like that. And isn't grand that there are those like Jon Klassen who recognize that children's books don't need to be sugar and unicorns to be exceptional and appreciated?
Jon Klassen's hat trilogy


  1. Hooray! The JK-3 age group just love these books but they are great for any age (for people with a sense of humour and an appreciation for the art of a good story.