________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 17 . . . . January 13, 2017


We Found a Hat.

Jon Klassen.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Random House Canada), 2016.
50 pp., hardcover, $21.00.
ISBN 978-0-7636-5600-3.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Val Neilsen.

**** /4


We Found a Hat is Jon Klassen's third and final book in his well known and loved hat trilogy. In this adventure, two turtles make a discovery:

We found a hat.
We found it together.

But there is only one hat.
And there are two of us.

      And to complicate matters, the hat looks great on both of them! What is the correct moral decision?

There is only one thing to do.
We must leave the hat here
and forget that we found it.

      So the hat is left behind them, and the turtles climb their rock to watch the sunset. Are they watching the sunset? Are they thinking about the hat? Can they fall asleep together? The turtles' eyes tell the story!

      Klassen cleverly breaks We Found a Hat into three parts, each one raising a moral dilemma for the turtle friends. Part One, "Finding the Hat", raises the first problem: Is it possible to be fair when two friends discover one valuable item? (It seems that in the real world "I saw it first" and a quick grab often interfere with such a solution). Part Two, "Watching the Sunset", poses another problem: How likely is your friend to be having the same selfish thought as you are having? The final Part Three, "Going to Sleep", brings up the hardest question of all: Can you really trust your friend?

      By Klassen's using background colours associated with morning, sunset, twilight and finally night time, his wonderfully evocative, deceptively simple drawings take his characters throughout the day of their adventure. As in his earlier award winning books, I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, the author tells his tale with a minimum of well chosen words which are perfectly complemented by his spare and subtle artistic style. Klassen gives his readers all the elements of fiction including setting, conflict (both internal and external!), universal themes, character development, crisis and a satisfactory (if somewhat unexpected) conclusion.

      Elementary school libraries should complete the trilogy with We Found a Hat to make sure that the three books are available to their Kindergarten and primary grade students and teachers. As a read aloud, the third hat book is certain not only to bring forth lively discussions, but it will also give young readers a push toward independent reading.

Highly Recommended.

A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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