We Found a Hat

Canadian-born Jon Klassen (illustrator of Caldecott Honors Sam & Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn) is on a roll, his world happily a-gleam with shiny children's book award stickers. We Found a Hat is the charming grand finale of an appealingly minimalist picture-book trilogy that made its debut with I Want My Hat Back (2011), a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book, and was followed up by This Is Not My Hat, which won the 2013 Caldecott Medal.

At the bottom of a solid gray page, two tortoises stare at the tall white hat sitting on the ground between them: "We found a hat./ We found it together." Trouble is, there's one hat and two of them and it "looks good on both of us" (though, amusingly, it engulfs their entire heads when they try it on). Sidestepping potential conflict, the tortoises abandon the hat and try to "forget that we found it." One glances longingly back at the hat as they climb a nearby rock. (A saguaro cactus adds a Wild West flavor, especially as the sun sets. Will there be a showdown?) In Part Two, the two tortoises talk: "What are you thinking about?" asks one. "I am thinking about the sunset," responds the other. (Once again, the tortoise's eyes tell a different story.) In Part Three, both tortoises are facing the hat: "We are going to sleep. We are going to sleep here together." (Here, their truth-revealing, almond-shaped eyes are wide open.)

Readers may be surprised when the spare, visually witty story ends in dreamland, where both tortoises are floating side by side in a star-sprinkled black sky... both wearing tall white hats. Will this lovely vision survive the light of day? Ask Klassen. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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