by Jon Klassen
I am a little bit in love with this insanely clever picturebook by Jon Klassen. The story is simple and unique, the jokes are perfectly placed and while one can be enjoyed because it's so expected, the other is joyfully out-of-the-blue. The design is entirely pleasing, with gorgeous end papers, great use of color, and Klassen's art, created digitally and with Chinese ink (according to the copyright page), leaves me wanting to see the originals in an exhibit - it's that good.
A bear has lost his hat. He asks each animal he encounters if they've seen it and each says no in their own way, and the bear politely thanks them. Finally, bereft and exhausted, the bear gives up and lies on the forest floor. Soon, a deer comes along and asks just the right question, which sets off the events that end the bear's search and ends something else, which I'll not spoil.
I Want My Hat Back won a 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor and was included on the 2011 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book Awards list. It is a great read-aloud. The littlest readers will get the first joke, even if they miss the second one. In a family test, some of my own all-adult test-group missed the second joke because they were going too fast. To me, that makes this book all the better - how to interpret that last twist and whether the reader gets it at all are part of the fun!