(Cybils 2012) This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Sequels are always tricky.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, 2012) is a follow-up to Klassen’s highly successful I Want My Hat Back, which was about a bear searching for his hat among his forest friends … and ended with a spot of rabbit fur. I Want My Hat Back provided a regular pattern: asking, answering, and large text to help my budding reader. It flowed in a wonderful way.

This is Not My Hat changes the scene a little bit. Now a small fish is telling the reader about the hat he has stolen from a large fish, convincing the reader that the other fish will not know who it was who took his hat. The illustrations tell otherwise.

For me, though, the story, while similar and clever much as This Is Not My Hat, seems to lack the same sense of pattern. Reading it aloud with my young reader does not provide the same feeling of reading along. While my son actually wanted to “sing” I Want My Hat Back because of the feeling of pattern he got reading it, This Is Not My Hat failed to provide that same feeling. It was clever, yes, but it ultimately fell short of fantastic for me. There was no underlying passion such as I felt when reading I Want My Hat Back.

Many people seem to love this book just as much as the first, however. Please talk with me about it.

  • What about this book makes it stand out to you?
  • If you were unfamiliar with the first book, would you love this book as much as you do?
  • What about this book makes it successful for you?

I get the humor, and I enjoy the minimalist artwork. But it just did not do much for me or my son as we read it together. Compared to other books published in the last year, this one just fell flat for me.