This Is Not My Hat is a companion book to Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back. I wouldn't call it a sequel, because the characters are different, but the storyline is similar. A small fish is swimming along and admits "This is not my hat." We learn that the small fish stole the hat from a big fish. But he's not worried, because the big fish probably won't even notice, and even if he does, he won't be able to find the small fish. Right? But even as we see the small fish's brave words, we also see the reactions of the big fish. Muted but clear, as he turns his eye upward to note his empty head, and then narrows his eye in annoyance, as he steams forward to look for the hat. The end, well, the end will not come as a surprise to those who read the first book.
I think that having read (and loved) the first book does take away from this one, a little. It's pretty clear all along that the small fish is not going to succeed in his quest to keep the hat. But that's part of the humor of This Is Not My Hat, too. Reading the confident words of the small fish, but seeing in the illustrations how misguided he is. I'm not sure that my two-year-old is mature enough to appreciate the humor, but I think that This Is Not My Hat will have four-year-olds rolling on the floor with laughter.
Klassen has a real flair for getting emotions across with minimal illustrations (and minimal text, for that matter). Four illustrations in a row differ only in the big fish's eyes, and the bubbles coming from his mouth. But this is enough to tell a whole story. I think the funniest page is one in which the text reads "So I am not worried about that" (in reference to anyone telling the big fish where the small fish went), above a picture of a wide-eyed lobster pointing the way for the angry big fish. I challenge anyone not to let out a little snort of laughter.
This Is Not My Hat is a must-add title for libraries, and for households where I Want My Hat Back was a hit. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Candlewick (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Source of Book: Finished review copy from the publisher
© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).