I Want My Hat Back

Jon Klassen, Illustrator
Jon Klassen. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5598-3
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4063-3683-2
Hardcover - 34 pages - 978-89-527-6487-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-57153-1
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-986-7295-85-9
Paperback - 31 pages - 978-1-4063-3853-9
DVD-Video - 978-0-545-57151-7
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In his first outing as an author, Klassen's (Cats' Night Out) words and artwork are deliberately understated, with delectable results. Digitally manipulated ink paintings show a slow-witted bear asking half a dozen forest animals if they've seen his hat. Unadorned lines of type, printed without quotation marks or attributions, parallel the sparse lines Klassen uses for the forest's greenery. Most of the answers the bear gets are no help ("What's a hat?" one animal asks), but the rabbit's answer arouses suspicion: "I haven't seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don't ask me any more questions." In a classic double-take, the bear doesn't notice the hat on the rabbit's head until several pages on: "I have seen my hat," he realizes, wide-eyed. Readers with delicate sensibilities may object to the implied conclusion ("I would not eat a rabbit," the bear says stoutly, his hat back on his head, the forest floor showing signs of a scuffle), but there is no objecting to Klassen's skillful characterizations; though they're simply drawn and have little to say, each animal emerges fully realized. A noteworthy debut. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
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