I Want My Hat Back

By Jon Klassen,

Book cover of I Want My Hat Back

Book description

A bear searches for his missing hat in the bestselling, multiple award-winning picture book debut of Jon Klassen.

In his bestselling debut picture book, the multiple award-winning Jon Klassen, illustrator of This Is Not My Hat and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, tells the story of a bear who's…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked I Want My Hat Back as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I love the subtle humor in this book. I also love the pattern and rhythm of the dialogue.

When the story circles back to the natural conclusion, I use the characters’ reactions and expressions to have children infer what really happened, who stole the hat, and how the problem was solved. 

I Want My Hat Back is a book that makes everybody smile. The dialogue is very funny and it is one of the books which makes children engaged right from the beginning. Due to the great illustrations the children will work out the funny story much quicker than the bear who is the main character in the book.  

Since many mischief-makers in literature (and the majority of this list) are animals, why not offer one more? I love, again, how all of the characters in this story are so polite. This book makes it into my top five because every time I read it, I find myself smiling the whole time and then completely shocked by the ending. As a kid, I pushed the boundaries whenever I could. Some would say I still do. But I remember one grownup, who busted me for some benevolent prank I tried to pull, told me, “Sometimes you bite the bear. Sometimes…

From Gibson's list on funny fables about mischief-makers.

This is one of just a few books that totally wowed me. The story, the art, and the book design: each one is a musical instrument creating the most beautiful symphony together. A bear loses his hat. He asks many animals, but no one has seen it. Can he get his hat back? Yes, but Klassen throws in an unexpected twist at the end. 

From Keiko's list on with humor and twist endings.

I have read this hilarious book to first graders, sixth graders, college students, and adults, and everyone laughs—then gasps at the end. (If you haven’t read it, you’ll find no spoilers here!) Brilliant in its simplicity, I Want My Hat Back is a superlative example of an artist playing to his strengths; Jon Klassen has said he’s not good at drawing emotive faces, and you’ll be glad he isn’t. He achieves so much with minimalist art, well-placed eyeballs, and a smashingly deadpan voice. This book is a masterful example of the picture book form, and an absolute pleasure at…

From April's list on picture books for ages 6 to 106.

I Want My Hat Back is my beacon and the inspiration for my own picture book career. This is Jon Klassen’s debut as a picture book author/illustrator. When it was first published, everyone in children’s literature took notice because it was just so daring. The illustrations are pared back, leaving the reader with crisply drawn characters against a spartan stage set. The focus is on the dialogue. And those eyes! When the penny drops for our main character, the reader is relieved that justice has not been thwarted.

From Nancy's list on with sideways humor and irony.

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