Cover image for I Want My Hat Back
I Want My Hat Back
Publication Information:
Candlewick Press 2019/03
General Note:
[Board Books]

On Order

Bob Harkins Branch2On Order
Nechako Branch1On Order



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.

Author Notes

Jon Klassen is a writer and illustrator of children's books. He won the 2013 Caldecott Medal for illustration, recognizing This Is Not My Hat, which he also wrote. He is also well known for his 2011 picture book I Want My Hat Back.

Jon studied animation at Sheridan College. He moved to Los Angeles after graduation and made an animated short with Dan Rodriques, An Eye for Annai. He worked on Neil Gaiman's Coralin and Kung Fu Panda, and was the art director for U2's animated video for I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight."

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Klassen's animation and design skills are evident on every page in this sly, subversive tale. A bear has lost his red hat and is on the search. Each critter he questions -- fox, frog, rabbit, turtle, snake, and armadillo -- has the same dead-pan eyes, the whites of which are highlighted by the cream-colored background surrounding the sepia-hued animals. These first encounters all take place on the left-hand page, with repeated dialogue until the bear, giving up, finally falls flat on his back in bereavement for his missing hat. Here his eyes beseech the heavens. At the page turn, a deer looks into those eyes, asking, "What's the matter?" This simple question knocks free a recent memory (one that the young reader is just waiting to be recovered) and leads the bear to a red-hot conclus on (and hot-red background color), spurring his race back to the thief. Adults and older children will chuckle mordantly at rabbit's sudden disappearance, while young children might actually wonder, with Squirrel, where the rabbit has gone. robin l. smith (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Review of Books Review

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. By Ruta Sepetys. (Philomel, $17.99.) This haunting novel exposes the horrors of Stalin from the perspective of a 15-year-old Lithuanian girl, evacuated to a camp in Siberia. A "superlative first novel," Linda Sue Park wrote in the Book Review. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. By Laini Taylor. (Little, Brown, $18.99.) "A breath-catching romantic fantasy about destiny, hope and the search for one's true self," according to our reviewer, Chelsey Philpot, this high-speed adventure involves love between angel and demon. LEVEL UP. By Gene Luen Yang. Illustrated by Thien Pham. (First Second, $15.99.) Smart, hilarious and affecting, this graphic novel tells the story of an aspiring gastroenterologist and video game enthusiast struggling between realizing his father's dreams and understanding his own ambitions. A MONSTER CALLS. By Patrick Ness. Illustrated by Jim Kay. (Candlewick, $16.99.) Based on an idea from the late Siobhan Dowd, this novel tackles the subject of a young boy dealing with his mother's death. "Powerful medicine," our reviewer wrote, and "a potent piece of art." THE SCORPIO RACES. By Maggie Stiefvater. (Scholastic Press, $17.99.) Based on Celtic myth, this vivid and original fantasy involves magical waterhorses and two riders determined to win the annual Scorpio races. "A complex literary thriller that pumps new blood into a genre suffering from post-"Twilight' burnout," our reviewer said. MIDDLE GRADE AMELIA LOST: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. By Candace Fleming. Illustrated. (Schwartz & Wade, $18.99.) Gives children the nuanced, accurate portrait of America's famed pilot they deserve - as well as a good story, impeccably researched. DRAWING FROM MEMORY. Written and illustrated by Allen Say. (Scholastic, $17.99.) Part memoir, part graphic novel, this account from the Caldecott medalist describes how his coming of age in Japan paved his path to children's literature. EVERY THING ON IT. By Shel Silverstein. (HarperCollins, $19.99.) On par with "A Light in the Attic," this posthumous collection of 140 poems makes you miss Silverstein and his seemingly effortless but incomparably funny, touching verse all the more. THE FINGERTIPS OF DUNCAN DORFMAN. By Meg Wolitzer. (Dutton, $16.99.) A novel about the real world of championship Scrabble, with a fantastical twist. Our reviewer, Stefan Fatsis, called it an "empathetic and sometimes farcical exploration of the emotionally confusing lives of preadolescent boys and girls." HEART AND SOUL. Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (Baher & Bray/HarperCollins, $19.99.) "A grand and awe-inspiring survey of the black experience in America," Walter Dean Myers wrote in the Book Review. This is history for children on both an epic and human scale. OKAY FOR NOW. By Gary D. Schmidt. (Clarion, $16.99.) The lead from "The Wednesday Wars" returns in this tragicomic story about a struggling middle grader. Our reviewer, Richard Peck, read this book "about the healing power of art and about a boy's intellectual awakening" through "misting eyes." QUEEN OF THE FALLS. Written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. (Houghton Mifflin, $18.99.) The bittersweet true story of a 62-year-old teacher who became the first person to barrel over Niagara Falls. Van Allsburg resists romanticizing the story and includes its melancholic edges, illustrated in exquisitely detailed drawings. SECRETS AT SEA. By Richard Peck. Illustrated by Kelly Murphy. (Dial, $16.99.) This mouse adventure follows four siblings as they cruise to England, accompanying their husband-hunting human counterparts. "Rife with snappy asides and clever but never heavy-handed," our reviewer wrote. SERIOUSLY, NORMAN! Written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. (Michael di Capua/Scholastic, $17.95.) This humorous first novel by picture book author Raschka describes life from the perspective of a less than stellar student. "Reading it is a visual, loopy, absurdist experience," Meg Wolitzer, our reviewer, said. WONDERSTRUCK. Written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. (Scholastic, $29.99.) Telling the story of a boy who searches for his father in New York and the tale of a deaf girl in 1920s Hoboken, Selznick weaves the two into a seamless story that "teaches a respect for the past and for the power of memory to make minds," Adam Gopnik wrote in these pages. PICTURE BOOKS BLACKOUT. Written and illustrated by John Rocco. (Disney/Hyperion, $16.99.) There's no place like New York in a blackout, at least as it's depicted in this gorgeously dreamy landscape of deep midnight blues. The city comes alive after dark at the same time a family becomes aware of the comforts of home in a story about how a community and a family come together when the lights go out. GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE. BySherri Duskey Rinker. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. (Chronicle, $16.99.) A debut author and an accomplished illustrator team up in a meeting of bedtime tale and construction book. This lullaby in rhyming couplets will also be loved by girls, with its images of vehicles clasping stars and cradling teddy bears. I WANT MY HAT BACK. Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. (Candlewick, $15.99.) A bear has lost his hat. A rabbit has stolen it. The bear finds out. From this premise, Klassen has created an inventive book that will have children scratching their heads and then laughing with glee once they "get it." Both story and bear have bite. I MUST HAVE BOBO! By Eileen Rosenthal. Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal. (Atheneum, $14.99.) A melodramatic boy, Willy, and a cat, Earl, both lay claim to a sock monkey. With adorable illustrations and sharp but spare text. ME . . . JANE. Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. (Little, Brown, $15.99.) Jane Goodall, the subject of this pictorial biography, and Patrick McDonnell, author and illustrator, are splendidly matched. Careful scenes captured in watercolors show how Goodall's childhood shaped her adult life. MEADOWLANDS: A Wetlands Survival Story. Written and illustrated by Thomas F. Yezerski. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $17.99.) Meticulously researched and expertly drawn, "Meadowlands" is impassioned without being preachy. A fine introduction to our role in environmental devastation and protection. MY NAME IS ELIZABETH. By Annika Dunklee. Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe. (Kids Can Press, $14.95.) The indignity and aggravation of the mispronounced and mistakenly abbreviated name! Elizabeth, a feisty and outspoken girl, addresses those who misaddress her in this artfully drawn tale. OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW. By Kate Messner. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Chronicle, $16.99.) A girl and her father are skiing when a red squirrel darts below the snow. Quiet, gentle and incomparably lovely, this book reveals a wintertime world under the surface. POMELO BEGINS TO GROW. By Ramona Bodescu. Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. Translated by Claudia Bedrick. (Enchanted Lion, $16.95.) A baby elephant's growth spurt also spurs worries. "Funny, smart and idiosyncratic, graceful and intuitive in a way that feels as much dreamed as written," our reviewer, Bruce Handy, said. SAMANTHA ON A ROLL. By Linda Ashman. Illustrated by Christine Davenier. (Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99.) A girl, a pair of new roller skates, a preoccupied parent. This ode to the glorious adventures - if also perils - of benign neglect pairs Ashman's perfectly rhymed text with Davenier's animated, humorous drawings.