I want my hat back by Jon Klassen

A bear has lost his hat; this story is about his journey to find his beloved chapeau. It is also a lesson about life in the wild and that nature is indeed red in tooth and claw.

Each time I read this story I hear the bear’s voice as a slow, heavy southern (as in American South) drawl.

As he travels, he comes across several creatures, and to each of these animals he asks one question:

Have you seen my hat?

They all answer in the negative

No. I haven’t seen your hat.

The frog is the same,as is the snake but the rabbit, the rabbit acts like he has something to hide.

The bear is unfailingly polite, thanking each animal as he goes along, until he collapses in despair and lies there crushed by his sense of loss until he is approached by a wise moose.

The moose speaks to him soothingly and kindles a memory of where he may have seen his hat.

No violence is shown through the entirety of the book, although it is telling that none of the animals look at him as they answer his question. Until he faces the villain of the piece, and then the cardinal rule of never making eye contact with a predator

is broken…

The ending is cunningly drawn (and written) and one is capable of drawing multiple conclusions as to what may have happened.

The illustrations are beautiful and elegant in their simplicity. The lack of background allow one to focus on the characters and the bear’s search.

It can also be read as a lovely children’s story (which it is) but I love it because it is a picture book as I imagine the Coen Brothers would have made! Jon Klassen is a talented storyteller and artist. I want my hat back is a book that can be read time and time again with no lessening of enjoyment, it is a beautiful, entertaining book!

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