Review: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

i want my hat back

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Published September 27, 2011.

I don’t think I can express how much I love this picture book.  It happily breaks all picture book rules by using a very muted palette with punches of color, not having much action at all, and ending with a dark twist.

The bear, who narrates the book in first person, is searching for his hat.  He asks one animal after the next about his hat and no one has seen it.  The only exception is the rabbit who is wearing a distinctive bright red pointy hat and seems to be protesting too much.  The bear continues past him though and on to several more animals until suddenly he realizes that he HAS seen his hat!  He rushes back past all of the animals until he reaches the rabbit.  And to find out what happens next, you will just have to read this humdinger of a picture book.

The illustrations are subtle, clever and in their understated way, hilarious.  The deadpan of the animals, the grasses and rocks near each of them on a tan page, all add up to the perfect background for this surprising story.

Klassen’s wording is perfection.  Each animal has a straight-forward response except the rabbit, so readers will be sure to notice the frenzied excuses being made.  He also incorporates plenty of repetition into the book which makes it flow like a book for preschoolers, but the humor will be enjoyed by older readers most of all.

Get your hands on this one, it is a clever, funny read with a dark twist.  What more could you ask for?  Appropriate for children ages 4-6, but most appreciated by children 7-12.

Reviewed from ARC received from Candlewick Press.

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Review: Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello

little pig joins the band

Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello

His family all call Jacob, Little Pig, and he is the smallest in his family.  So when his siblings get out his Grandpa’s old marching-band instruments, Little Pig has trouble finding one that fits him.  He’s far too small for the drums, too little for the trumpet and trombone, and don’t even ask about the tuba!  All he can do is watch as his older brothers and sisters march around the room.  But when they come to a crashing stop, Little Pig knows just how he can join the band after all.

This simple story speaks to everyone finding their own niche and value in a family.  Here, Little Pig finds the special place for himself rather than the older children or adults helping him.  It makes for a very powerful message for young children, that not only do they have value but they can discover it on their own. 

Costello writes with simplicity and a solid feel.  His story has small, clever asides that are filled with puns as well.  His art is friendly and cheerful.  Little Pig has an oversized snout, small eyes and expressive ears.  Even the older children are treated as individuals in the art, with one decked out in hat and a boa.  I can see more stories about the children in this family.

A strong story about finding your place and becoming a leader, this book has a cheery feel that is very appealing.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.

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