CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 12 . . . . November 18, 2011
In I Want My Hat Back, a bear has lost his hat. He asks various animals that he encounters if they have seen his hat. Each animal answers in the negative. Then the bear realizes that he did, in fact, see one of the animals wearing his hat. The rabbit to whom he had spoken was wearing it although the rabbit made a point to say that he hadn't seen the hat and that he would not steal a hat. The bear confronts the animal, retrieves his hat and, as the text implies, eats the rabbit. He then, like the rabbit, lies to cover up his misdeed.
Although this book is not one that engaged me, it contains within its pages a few things worth noting. The author of this book chose to indicate dialogue not through use of quotation marks but through a change in font colour to show a change in speaker. There are also no speaker tags ("…" said the bear.) This approach allows young readers to use thinking skills to determine which animal is speaking when. The story's ending (see excerpt above) requires young readers to infer what has happened to the rabbit as that action is "off screen", so to speak. Also, even though the animals in the story steal and lie, they do show redeeming qualities in being polite to one another and in being willing to help others.
Illustrations, created digitally and in Chinese ink, are simple and dark in colour. They do not contain much detail. This could be viewed as a positive in that the images' simplicity is not distracting to young readers.
Recommended with reservations.
Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.