Book Review: We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_we_found_a_hatTo me, the maxim “less is best” applies to picture books and Jon Klassen has got it so right. On the surface this is a simple tale of two turtles who find a hat in the desert. Both try it on, both want it, but what can they do?

Klassen has already entranced us with two previous books on the topic: I Want my Hat Back and This is Not My Hat. Here the story continues with minimal text and simple illustrations.

The book is in three parts. The hat is found and tried on in Part One. Both agree the hat looks great, while we the reader can see it looks silly having a huge white hat on a tiny turtle head. They decide to leave the hat in the desert.

In Part Two, we see sneaky turtle deciding he needs to go back. The sideways eyeballs say it all. In Part Three ,the decision is made.

The conclusion is not what you might expect but it underpins the message of justice. The importance of a decision and the moment when we decide what is right and just, is clearly illustrated in this tale. It can be enjoyed on many levels. While a child will love the simple text and delightful illustrations, older children and adults can appreciate the subversive illustrations and the underlying message. My class of 14-year-olds had a lively discussion after part Two. They had all sorts of suggestions, but none came up with Klassen’s ending.

This is a book-lovers book. My copy will not be in anyone’s Christmas stocking.

Reviewed by Kathy Watson

We Found a Hat
by Jon Klassen
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406347517