Customer Reviews for

This Is Not My Hat

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Jon Klassen is an unassuming Canadian-born illustrator who claim

Jon Klassen is an unassuming Canadian-born illustrator who claims he never wrote anything other than emails until his controversial picturebook bestseller, “I Want My Hat Back.” This year he followed up with a Caldecott Honor Book, "Extra Yarn," written by Mac...
Jon Klassen is an unassuming Canadian-born illustrator who claims he never wrote anything other than emails until his controversial picturebook bestseller, “I Want My Hat Back.” This year he followed up with a Caldecott Honor Book, "Extra Yarn," written by Mac Barnett, and the Caldecott Medal winner, “This Is Not My Hat.”

Quite a hat trick indeed.

To recap “I Want My Hat Back”: A polite bear in search of his lost hat interviews his forest neighbors, each of whom denies having seen it. Belatedly, the bear realizes the rabbit lied, exacts revenge and retrieves what’s his.

The revenge takes place off-page but is apparently lethal. Hence the controversy.

It would be funny if “This Is Not My Hat” were a sequel in which the bear discovers – oops – the hat he took from the rabbit wasn’t his hat after all. But in fact the more recent book is about fish.

As the similar titles imply, though, it deals with similar issues, ones that will be familiar to any tyke that’s ever braved the wilds of preschool, or any fan of a Clint Eastwood western (think “Pale Rider” and “High Plains Drifter”) in which great wrong is avenged, the moral code upheld, and the universe returned to stasis.

Here is the setup: Wearing a stolen bowler hat, a little beige fish makes his getaway through the inky black sea, all the while proclaiming guilelessly that he’s going to get away with his crime: “I know it’s wrong to steal a hat. I know it does not belong to me. But I am going to keep it.”

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the thief, the hat’s big-fish owner has awakened from his nap and … the chase is on!
This apparently simple book is structurally complex. For example, the narrator is the bad guy, and if justice is to be served, he won’t be around to narrate anymore. How will the author pull this off?

Indeed, the ending is mysterious. Something happens between the little fish and the big fish in the kelp forest. We don’t know what. What we know (spoiler alert!) is the narration has ceased, and the big fish has his hat back.

Like the story, the illustrations are deceptively simple. With the tilt of a fish eye or the placement of an air bubble, Klassen conveys both motion and emotion. I also want to give him a shout-out for a crab that looks downright Eric Carle-esque, that plays a key role and serves as the literal bright spot in the appropriately subdued palette.

posted by PA-Book-Lover on January 29, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

Preview does not work. :(

Preview does not work. :(

posted by dpetie3 on January 29, 2013

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  • Posted January 29, 2013

    Preview does not work. :(

    Preview does not work. :(

    8 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Great Illustrations Awful Ending

    Illustrations were great. The ending of the book was awful and now that I was able to read the whole book, I can not give it as a gift as originally planned. Unfortunately online I was not able to read the whole book. This is the first and last time I buy a children's book without reading the whole thing. Very disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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