Reviews for This Is Not My Hat


Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1
*Starred Review* Klassen's authorial debut, I Want My Hat Back (2011), became one of the surprise picture-book hits of the year. This follow-up is really only related in its hat-theft theme, animal characters, deadpan humor, and a suggestively dark conclusion. Which might seem like everything, but whereas the first book featured light sleuthing by a semi-dopey bear looking to find his lost lid, this is a similar story from a fishy absconder's point of view. "This hat is not mine. I just stole it," claims a minnow darting through the deep-sea black. He tells how he lifted it from a bigger fish. At each stage, the minnow reassures himself that he's gotten away with his perfect crime. We see it ain't so, as the big fish trolls along right behind him, right down to the minnow's final, prophetic double entendre: "Nobody will ever find me." Once again, the simple, dramatic tension and macabre humor mesh splendidly with Klassen's knack for tiny, telling details and knockout page turns. Who knew hat thievery was such a bottomless well? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Klassen's debut was a #1 New York Times best-seller and Geisel Honor Book. The publisher is rolling out a 15-city tour and pulling out all the publicity stops in support of this release. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
A guilty-looking little fish has taken a tiny bowler from the head of a large sleeping fish. He explains why he won't be caught (the fish is asleep, he won't wake up or notice the missing hat, etc.), but every claim he makes is belied by the pictures. Telling almost the whole story through subtle movements, Klassen lets readers in on this darkly hilarious joke.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #5
The eyes have it in Klassen's latest hat book (I Want My Hat Back, rev. 11/11). Klassen manages to tell almost the whole story through subtle eye movements and the tilt of seaweed and air bubbles. The wide-eyed little fish on the cover looks guilty. He is. He has taken the tiny bowler from the head of a large sleeping fish and pleads his case to the reader. He explains why he will never be caught -- the fish is asleep; he won't wake up or notice the missing hat; and he won't know who took it or where the thief has gone. The culprit continues to flee the scene of the crime, moving to "where the plants are big and tall and close together." Once he reaches his destination, the reader sees the little guy for the last time, disappearing amidst the "safety" of the seaweed. The final spread is laugh-out-loud funny: the large fish now sports the teeny hat, eyes closed and relaxed in slumber. The seaweed wafts innocently, and the air bubbles are calm. Since every claim the little fish makes is belied by the pictures, the reader is in on the joke, by turns rooting for him to get away and nervously hoping he is caught. Klassen continues to be the master of black and brown, and the viewer will not tire of the palette. Little eyes will pore over the end pages, looking for evidence of foul play, but all the interaction between the two characters takes place where the plants grow tall and close together, obscuring the view. Darkly hilarious. robin l. smith

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
Klassen combines spare text and art to deliver no small measure of laughs in another darkly comic haberdashery whodunit. While not a sequel to I Want My Hat Back (2011), the story does include a hat, a thief (a little fish) and a wronged party (a big fish). This time, first-person narration follows the thief, whose ego far outstrips his size as he underestimates the big fish's tracking abilities. Meanwhile, much of the art follows the big fish on his hunt, creating a pleasing counterpoint with the text. For example, a page reading "…he probably won't notice that it's gone" shows not the thieving piscine narrator but the big fish looking up toward the top of his own bare head; he clearly has noticed that his hat is gone, and the chase is on! Sublime book design exploits the landscape format, with dogged movement from left to right across the double-page spreads. This culminates in a page reading "I knew I was going to make it," as the little fish disappears on the recto into plants evocative of Leo Lionni's setting in Swimmy (1963), while a narrow-eyed big fish enters the verso. The little fish is clearly doomed--a fact coyly confirmed by wordless page turns revealing the big fish swimming away, now from right to left, hat firmly on head. Hats off! (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #4

Like Klassen's very funny and much-praised I Want My Hat Back, this story involves a hat theft; this time, Klassen ups the ante by having the thief narrate. It's a small gray fish who has stolen a tiny bowler hat from a much larger fish ("It was too small for him anyway," the little fish sniffs. "It fits me just right"). Klassen excels at using pictures to tell the parts of the story his unreliable narrators omit or evade. "There is someone who saw me already," admits the little fish, about a goggle-eyed crab. "But he said he wouldn't tell anyone which way I went. So I am not worried about that." The spread tells another story; the crab betrays the small fish in a heartbeat, pointing to its hiding place, "where the plants are big and tall and close together." Readers hope for the best, but after the big fish darts in, only one of them emerges, sporting the hat. It's no surprise that the dominant color of the spreads is black. Tough times call for tough picture books. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 September

PreS-Gr 1--With this new creation, Klassen repeats the theme from I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick, 2011), but with a twist. The narrator here is the thief-a small, self-confident fish who has pilfered a little blue bowler from a big sleeping fish. He wastes no time or words in confessing his crime as he swims across the page announcing, "This hat is not mine. I just stole it." He continues his narrative with no regrets, but with a bit of rationalizing ("It was too small for him anyway.") as he swims to his hiding place, unaware that the big fish is in quiet pursuit. Readers, of course, are in on this little secret. When the two disappear into a spread filled with seaweed, the narration goes silent, and youngsters can easily surmise what happens as the big fish reemerges with the tiny blue bowler atop his head. Simplicity is key in both text and illustrations. The black underwater provides the perfect background for the mostly gray-toned fish and seaweed while the monochromatic palette strips the artwork down to essential, yet exquisite design. Movement is indicated with a trail of small white bubbles. This not-to-be-missed title will delight children again and again.--Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH

[Page 116]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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