This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Bibliographic Information:Klassen, Jon. This Is Not My Hat. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2012. Print. 978-0-7636-5599-0.thisisnotmyhat

This Is Not My Hat tells the story of a little brown fish who has a blue hat on his head, happily swimming around the ocean, but that hat is not his. The little fishy stole the hat from a very big fish who was sleeping. The little fish decides to hide where the plants are big and grow close together because he (?) erroneously believes no one will be able to see him there.

The story engages young readers before the cover of the book is even open. The title begs the question: Who’s hat is it? How did the brown fish get the blue hat? The illustrations are not busy or overcrowded. The background on most pages is black, creating the sense that the fish are dozens and dozens of feet below the surface of the ocean, so far down that the sun doesn’t reach.

The text of the book is black and is set against a white background, which makes it easy to read, and doesn’t interfere with the illustrations. There are no gender pronouns used, which is nice, because it allows the reader to identify with either fish. Plus, the story is ridiculously funny as everything that could possibly go wrong for the little fish does. The little fish thinks everything is going as planned, but the readers know better.

The ending is cute, but for me, it is a weakness. The big fish, who looks like a whale, finds the little fish where the plants grow tall and close together and takes his hate back. Since the little fish stole the hate, which is wrong, it’s fine the big fish gets the hate back. But we aren’t shown how the hat was retrieved. Perhaps it’s because I read so many fairy tales that are filled with darkness and death, but first though upon finishing the books was “OMG! HE KILLED THE LITTLE FISH!”

Now, there isn’t any evidence in the book to back me up, but there isn’t any evidence to disprove me. I even read a different by Jon Klassen, I Want My Hat Back, hoping it was some kind of sequel, but it offered no answers as the books aren’t in any related with any of the characters. This may just be me, but I need to know what happened to the little fish.

The audience for this book would be primarily preschoolers (ages 3-5), however it will also appeal to older students who may be struggling readers or who continue to love picture books.

It could be uses to educated older children on the ocean. It invites conversation about how far down fish live, what types of fish the children think the fish are, and what the ocean looks like at different depths. It could also be used for slightly older children who may be struggling readers. The book flows very naturally and it quite humorous. The little fish says no one will tell where he went (the crab d0es) and the readers know this even though the fish doesn’t. It creates suspense that should engage struggling and reluctant readers. The book is obviously great for a fish theme storytime and anything involving the ocean. It could also be used as part of manners program as it is not polite (and illegal) to steal as the little fish did.

Suggested Readalikes:
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Boot & Shoe by Marla Frazee
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Award:Caldecott Medal 2013


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