Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
Walker Books Australia.
When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it s a good thing that enormous fish won't wake up. And even if he does, it s not like he'll ever know what happened. . . . Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.
I love humour in children's picture books, and was pleased to find it in This is Not My Hat. Kids will recognise the cockiness of the little fish thief, and very much appreciate the justice of the book's resolution. They will guffaw over the dichotomy between the little fish's words - "And even if he does wake up, he probably won't notice that it's gone" - and the illustration showing the alert big fish's eyes darting straight to see if his hat is still there.
For me, this charming children's picture book is a stand-out because of the sheer fun and quality of the illustrations. Klassen uses muted colours in a limited palette to show us a story that takes place underwater. Each time I look at the calm serenity of the very big fish wearing a tiny blue hat I just have to grin, and kids most definitely will too.
This is Not My Hat is a great book for librarians and teachers to treat with kids. It begs for a discussion about inference, and what we suspect might be true or going to happen because of the pictures, even though they're at odds with the text. Little fish's self-justification that it's wrong to steal, but the hat is a better fit for him than the big fish would make a thought-provoking discussion point too. The specially large font size makes it perfect to read aloud to kids while allowing them to actually see the print, helpful for pre-readers, and adults who want to use the text as a model.
Here's a short trailer to give you a taste of the book.
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