“Don’t ask me any more questions.”

June 7, 2011 @ 9:20 pm | Filed under: Books, Picture Book Spotlight

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Published by Candlewick.

I think the best way to tell you about I Want My Hat Back is to describe my family’s reaction to it. I was sent a review copy by the publisher (the official pub date is Sept. 27), and I began reading it right out of the package, standing in the living room. A bear has lost his hat, and he wants it back. He asks a fox; the fox hasn’t seen it. He asks a frog; no luck there either. He asks a rabbit—a rabbit who happens to be wearing a pointy red hat.

“No. Why are you asking me,” replies the rabbit. “I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don’t ask me any more questions.”

By this point I’m laughing out loud and I have to go right away and show the book to the rest of my family. This book is begging to be read aloud by a daddy like Scott.

They’re in the kitchen, Scott and my three older girls, ages ten, twelve, and sixteen. I thrust the book before their faces, you’ve got to read this, and we stand there turning the pages together. At the rabbit’s remarks, the girls burst out laughing. The animals’ deadpan expressions and terse, uninflected dialogue make this exchange viciously funny.

We’re huddled around the book, reading on silently. The bear asks many more animals, with no success, and finally flops down in the grass and stares at the sky. My poor hat. I miss it so much.

And then the bear remembers where he’s seen it. I’m not going to say what happens after that, but it made my daughters shriek with laughter and shock, even the teenager. My husband gasped. I howled. Rilla, when we read it to her later, chortled wickedly.

I don’t think everyone will approve of the ending. I’ve had three-year-olds who would be very upset by the turn of events. Most six-year-olds I’ve known would, I think, embrace it with glee.

Today I tweeted, “I really want to write about a certain book but various children keep spiriting it away from my stack.”

And my husband replied: “I have not seen that book. I would not take that book. I don’t know what a book is. Stop asking me questions about a book.”

Better watch out, rabbit.

Updated: How Rilla was inspired by the art.

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11 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Love the play-by-play! I keep reading such good buzz about this book – I have to find it soon…

  2. Oooh, I can’t WAIT to hear what your crew has to say about it. 🙂

  3. Now I want to read it!

  4. Ahh, now Scott’s facebook post makes even more sense! I thought he was just making fun of small children in general 🙂 And now I have GOT to get my hands on that book!

  5. Hahahah! I’ve heard such great things about this book — yes, Mr. Rabbit HAD better watch out!

  6. OK now I want to know the ending of this book–more than I ever wanted to know who shot JR. What happens? Does the bear throttle the rabbit? Is that what would horrify some three year olds and make six year old (boys) chortle with glee? You can see how violent my mind is.

    Actually, don’t tell. I’ll find the book and read it myself.

  7. Can’t wait to read it!!

  8. Love your post now that I’ve fallen in love with the book. Love your family’s reaction. Thanks for sharing:-)

  9. […] Review at Here in the Bonny Glen (Don’t miss this follow-up post, which may just convince me that I’m wrong about this one, too.) […]

  10. […] picture books are tending toward simple, spare text (many of them quite wonderfully, like I Want My Hat Back or the charming Me Hungry); but in my mind the form is dominated by longish stories with rich […]

  11. […] Jon Klassen on I Want My Hat Back (which we loved): In a way, it’s a story about empathy or lack of empathy. The idea with the rabbit was capturing […]