I Want My Hat Back

( 23 )

Overview

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011!

A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.

The bear's hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks ...

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Overview

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011!

A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.

The bear's hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear's memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor— and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011
A 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his first outing as an author, Klassen's (Cats' Night Out) words and artwork are deliberately understated, with delectable results. Digitally manipulated ink paintings show a slow-witted bear asking half a dozen forest animals if they've seen his hat. Unadorned lines of type, printed without quotation marks or attributions, parallel the sparse lines Klassen uses for the forest's greenery. Most of the answers the bear gets are no help ("What's a hat?" one animal asks), but the rabbit's answer arouses suspicion: "I haven't seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don't ask me any more questions." In a classic double-take, the bear doesn't notice the hat on the rabbit's head until several pages on: "I have seen my hat," he realizes, wide-eyed. Readers with delicate sensibilities may object to the implied conclusion ("I would not eat a rabbit," the bear says stoutly, his hat back on his head, the forest floor showing signs of a scuffle), but there is no objecting to Klassen's skillful characterizations; though they're simply drawn and have little to say, each animal emerges fully realized. A noteworthy debut. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
You know, bears may stand for adults in some way, because they're big, they're ungainly, they're goofy. They're like most of us grownups. But the bear in this book paws down; he's got to be the dimmest, most slow-witted, brilliantly stupid bear to come along in years. I really love him.
—NPR Weekend Edition

A marvelous book in the true dictionary sense of "marvel": it is a wonderful and astonishing thing, the kind of book that makes child laugh and adult chuckle, and both smile in appreciation. A charmingly wicked little book.
—The New York Times

Four pages into this charmer, every kindergartner will know where the bear's missing hat is - but they'll never predict the hilarious revenge he takes on the thief.
—People Magazine

Deliberately understated, with delectable results... Skillful characterizations; though they're simply drawn and have little to say, each animal emerges fully realized.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
“Did he, or didn’t he?” That question has been the focus of more than one conversation since the children and I first read Klassen’s investigative tale together. Bear, a nondescript fellow with a flat affect, it looking for a hat he has lost. He proceeds through the area, asking one woodland inhabitant after another. Unlike the many cumulative picture books that rely on repetition, this book relies on novelty. Each creature replies to Bear in a different and unique way. Fox tells him “No. I haven’t seen your hat.” Turtle tells him “I haven’t seen anything all day. I have been trying to climb this rock.” (Bear genially offers to lift him on top of the rock.) Rabbit perhaps protests too much—“I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat.” is only part of it—but Bear accepts his words at face value and ambles off to ask the next animal. Later, a few minutes’ reflection causes him to recall that he has seen his hat. The background is awash with an angry red and the font all caps as Bear realizes just who has his hat. Later, Bear has his hat. And, when Squirrel asks if he has seen “a rabbit wearing a hat,” Bear has the perfect response: “I haven’t seen him. I haven’t seen any rabbits anywhere. I would not eat a rabbit.” Or would he? Narrator Daniel Pinkwater creates a sense of drama in his reading of this delicious, vaguely menacing tale. This book has been recognized by the New York Times Book Review as a “Best Illustrated Children’s Book,” and it has been named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. The honors are richly deserved. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 2 to 8.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our narrator, a stodgy bear, discovers that his hat is gone and wants it back. As he searches for it, he politely asks a fox, a frog, and finally a rabbit if they have seen it. They insist that they have not; the rabbit is even annoyed at being asked. The bear keeps searching and asking, fearing he will never find it. When he describes his lost hat to a reindeer, however, he suddenly recalls where he has seen it. And of course, so do we. Back he runs, past all the other animals, to the rabbit. "YOU STOLE MY HAT," he declares. Back on his head it goes. "I love my hat," he contentedly remarks. On the final text page, however, a squirrel is asking him whether he has seen a rabbit in a hat. In a role reversal, the bear denies it, the squirrel thanks him, and we wonder. A sort of abstract image of a bear confronts us on the jacket, created digitally and in Chinese ink, as are all the other animal characters. Aside from a few rocks and woody plants there is no setting. The bear speaks in large dark type; the others answer in different colors. This makes the small red triangle of the hat very easy to spot. The front end pages depict all the animals, including the hatless bear, in tones of brown. The scene is repeated on the back end pages with the red hat back atop the bear's head. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Readers may be too young to know Nixon's famous line, "I am not a crook," but they'll surely figure out that someone here is not telling the truth. Bear has lost his hat and asks various creatures if they have seen it, with pronounced civility. Snake goes offtrack (and will also throw inattentive listeners offtrack) by announcing he's seen a blue and round hat. Rabbit vigorously denies having seen anything like it, despite evidence to the contrary. Armadillo asks, "What is a hat?" Bear is flung into despair until a young deer asks, "What does your hat look like?" Bear starts to describe it and immediately realizes he has seen it. The following page is painted red with anger. Readers realize they have seen it, too! Bear confronts the culprit and what happens next is a matter of interpretation. Violence is implied, but only indirectly. The Chinese ink illustrations are understated and stylized, and the pages are a natural sandy hue throughout. The dialogue is not in quotations but in contrasting colors. Wisps of grass, rocks, small branches, and specks of dirt compose the setting. Read aloud, this story will offer many sublime insights into how young readers comprehend an illustrated text that leaves out vital information, and will leave young sleuths reeling with theories about what just happened.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Kirkus Reviews

Klassen's coy effort combines spare illustration, simple, repetitive text and a "payback's a bear" plot.

A somber, sepia-toned bear longs for his missing hat and questions a series of forest animals about its whereabouts. While everyone denies seeing it, a rabbit (sporting, readers will note, a pointy red chapeau) protests a bit too indignantly. Ten pages on, as the bear describes his hat for a solicitous deer, realization hits: "I HAVE SEEN MY HAT." The accompanying illustration shows the indignant bear suffused in the page's angry red. There's the subsequent dash and confrontation, followed by bear in hat and rabbit—well, nowhere to be seen. Klassen's ink-and-digital creatures, similarly almond-eyed and mouth-less, appear stiff and minimalist against creamy white space. Foliage is suggested with a few ink strokes (though it's quite bashed-up after rabbit goes missing). The text type, New Century Schoolbook, intentionally evokes the visually comfy, eminently readable design of 1960s children's primers. Font colors correlate with the animals' dialogue as well as the illustrations' muted color palette, and the four-sentence denials (first rabbit's, then bear's) structurally echo each other. Indubitably hip, this will find plenty of admirers. Others might react to a certain moral vapidity. And the littlest ones will demand to know where the heck that rabbit went.

Cynical on wry. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pamela Paul
I Want My Hat Back is a marvelous book in the true dictionary sense of "marvel": it is a wonderful and astonishing thing, the kind of book that makes child laugh and adult chuckle, and both smile in appreciation…It may take younger children a few readings to understand the story in full, but when they do, they will savor it all the more. Adult readers, for their part, will surely anticipate Klassen's next picture book in the same way they yearn for a new Mo Willems or relish a William Steig classic. This is a charmingly wicked little book and the debut of a promising writer-illustrator talent.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763655983
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 19,749
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 90L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen received the 2010 Canadian Governor General's Award for his illustrations in Caroline Stutson's CAT'S NIGHT OUT. He also created illustrations for the popular series THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE and served as an illustrator on the animated feature film Coraline. I WANT MY HAT BACK is the first book he has both written and illustrated. Originally from Niagara Falls, Canada, he lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2012

    A New Favorite! Delightfully simple yet hilarious!

    I'm a teacher & mom of 3, & when I read this book, I laughed out loud & immediately shared it w/a co-worker. My 6 & 8 yr olds LOVED it! Lots of laughter, followed by an immediate, "Let's read it again!" The text is simple enough that they wanted to read it themselves this time, and I LOVE that the bear's words are in 1 color & the other animal's words in another, so my children needed no cues to each read their part.
    To the negative reviewers, I have to wonder about your presentation of the book. Did you stop to look at the pictures during the story? Did you use expression? Have you ever read a Mo Willems Elephant & Piggie book, and if so, did you find those funny?
    As for the review about rudeness and violence...???!!! The bear responds to every animal with "Ok, thank you anyway", (it says Thank you, anyway SIX times in this book!),and he offers to help the turtle, who politely responds, "Yes, please." There is nothing violent about the book either! Only an implied (and normal by the laws of nature, actually!) and very funny ending.
    I will be sharing this book with my 1st grade class, my own children's classes, and buying some as gifts. Kind of a no-brainer that when kids find a book funny, beg to re-read it and act it out, and want to share it with friends, that this book is a treasure!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Hilarious for kids and adults

    Great illustrations--that expression!--with a simple, easy-to-follow storyline that will keeps kids AND parents/teachers/librarians laughing. Highly recommended.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2012

    If you have a sense of humor, you and your kids will love this b

    If you have a sense of humor, you and your kids will love this book. One of my all time favorites.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Disappointing

    We received two copies as gifts. My children (ages 4 to 8) found it just "OK, not funny and a bit frustrating." As an adult reading the book to a younger child, the illustrations were appealing but the text does not make it a favorite.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Not for children 4-8

    This book is funny for adults. I'm surprised it is being recommended for this age group.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    not for our family!

    i'm surprised this is considered one of the best books of 2011 - rude behavior from the main character and the violent (implied) ending sent this book right back to the store!

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    A Great Book for Kids and Adults

    This book made me laugh out loud, so I had to buy it for my nephew. Such a fun read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    This book was an instant family favorite - my son (2 1/2) loves

    This book was an instant family favorite - my son (2 1/2) loves to pretend to be a "naughty rabbit" and steals my husband's hat to start a game of chase. A thoroughly charming and wonderful book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    My New Favorite Children's Book!

    Wonderful illustration, and a good mix of small and large words for the new reader. My four year old was able to read a good 70% of it, and it opened the door for him to learn some new words, as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    This is the most glorious book I have ever read. If you don't th

    This is the most glorious book I have ever read. If you don't think that it's amazingly hilarious and perfect then you do not have a soul.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    Brilliant.

    Brilliant.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    Highly recommend!!

    My daughter loved this book!! She donated it to her school library!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2011

    This is a strange but appealing book!

    Simple story with simple illustrations. Polite conversations between the bear and numerous animals as he searches for his missing hat. The ending has an unusual twist to it. My reaction was.....what? I'm eager to read it to a child to see what his reaction or comments are.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Fun drawings!

    Love Klassen's illustrations and characters.

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  • Posted December 7, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

          Always a favorite of mine, I adore I Want My Hat Back. A s

          Always a favorite of mine, I adore I Want My Hat Back. A simple story about a bear just looking for his hat and the rabbit who may, or may not have taken it. With easy, simple language and uncomplicated drawings, Klassen weaves an adorable tale for children and adults alike. 
          Perfect for storytimes or one on one readings with children, I adore this story. This bear walks around the forest, asking about his red pointy hat. After asking a snake, a turtle, and other animals, he asks this rabbit where his hat might be. Coincidentally, the rabbit is wearing a red hat but has no idea where red hats come from. Children enjoy figuring out the mystery before the bear but ultimately, its just a sweet charming story that will make you smile. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2013

    This is a fun, quirky little book. Most reviewers/purchasers lov

    This is a fun, quirky little book. Most reviewers/purchasers loved this book because of the twisted ending. Some hated it because they felt the ending suspended reality too much (as if talking animals didn't do that already). Anyway, the talking bear is wonderfully polite, if not terribly understanding.
    The illustrations, not surprisingly, are fun and quirky. So the only real surprise is the ending, and I'm not telling you what it is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    We love this book!

    This book is so fantastic, and we love reading it with our son. Sure, it's a little twisted, but we find it highly entertaining and my son gets so excited about finding the bear's hat. We love giving each animal its own special voice/accent, which makes the story even more fun. A must-read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2013

    Hilarious children's book!

    I only wish that authors wrote such hilarious short stories for adults. My husband and I both laughed uproariously at this book and look forward to giving it to our toddler son for his birthday.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2013

    MOMS OF AMERICA READ TO YOUR CHILDREN BEFORE THEY GO TO BED EVER

    MOMS OF AMERICA READ TO YOUR CHILDREN BEFORE THEY GO TO BED EVERY NIGHT IT WILL GIVE THE CHILDREN INSIGHT TO WHAT GOING ON IN THE WORLD I RECOMMEND MOLLY ADVENTURES VERY HEART WARMINING AND BASE ON A TRUE STORY

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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