Klassen, Jon. 2012. This is Not My Hat. Ill. Jon Klassen. Somerville: Candlewick Press. ISBN 9780763655990.
Little Fish has stolen a hat and thinks he will get away with it. After all, Big Fish was sleeping and won’t know where Little Fish is going. Little Fish explains his reasoning, the hat didn’t fit Big Fish and the crab won’t tell Big Fish where Little Fish is going. He thinks he gets away with it. Then Big Fish swims away wearing his reclaimed hat.
This is Not My Hat is a dark picture book. Not only is the book following the thief while showing the audience what the original hat owner is doing, the colors used are dark. Instead of the water being blue or green, it is black, making the fish, seaweed, and crab more like negative space. The Horn Book calls it “Darkly Hilarious” (Smith, 2012). Klassen’s artwork is very textured. It is easiest to see on Big Fish, but all of the characters have an element of texture that contrasts the flat black background. Klassen also does a beautiful job of showing the characters’ mentalities. Big Fish glares in the direction Little Fish went. Little Fish never looks back after the first page. The crab’s eyes widen when he sees Big Fish coming.
This book does have the potential to frighten children. I looked at Big Fish swimming out of the seaweed and couldn’t help but think Little Fish was lunch. However, Little Fish’s fate is not established. For all the reader knows, Little Fish fell asleep and Big Fish stole his hat back. It is easy to appreciate Little Fish even if he is in the wrong. After all, kids know from the first page that Little Fish was wrong. He comes out and says he stole the hat. It isn’t hard to see how this story can be used as a teaching moment. You could teach sharing, asking politely, or respecting others’ things.
Booklist Review (8/2012)
“This follow-up is really only related in its hat-theft theme, animal characters, deadpan humor, and a suggestively dark conclusion…Who knew hat thievery was such a bottomless well?”
This is Not My Hat won the 2013 Caldecott. It is also on the TEXAS 2X2 list.
This is Not My Hat Booklist Review. 2012. Booklist Online. http://www.booklistonline.com/ProductInfo.aspx?pid=5498353&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1. Accessed September 10, 2013.
Smith, Robin. 2012. Review of This is Not My Hat. The Horn Book. http://www.hbook.com/2012/09/choosing-books/reviews/review-of-this-is-not-my-hat/. Accessed September 10, 2013.