I Want My Hat Back is one of the most original picture books out there that appeals equally to both kids and grown-ups with its spot-on deadpan humour — a result of the happy marriage between the illustrations and text by the talented author/illustrator Jon Klassen.
The premise is simple: a bear loses his hat and goes around asking the other animals if they have seen it; while they do not provide much help, he thanks them politely each time.
The story is told entirely through the deceptively simple dialogue, and sharp-eyed readers will be able to solve the whodunit midway through the book — as the author intended.
The bear takes a little longer to figure it out, though, but when he does, the confrontation is swift and decisive. And, um, let’s just say that the culprit won’t need a hat where he ends up…
Although I’d wondered if the humour was too subtle for a 3.5-year-old, my son found it hilarious and immediately asked for the book to be read again. He’s also been gleefully reciting a few lines from the book. So, needless to say, it was a hit with him too!
If you liked this book, you’ll probably enjoy the sequel-of-sorts, This Is Not My Hat, which won the prestigious Caldecott Medal this year.