I WANT MY HAT BACK by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2011)
Droll illustrations primarily in shades of brown and red, “created digitally and in Chinese ink,” are a perfect foil for this narrative about a lost hat. A bear’s simple, serious sentences make us smile as he questions animals who aren’t helpful, but display nice manners. His replies stay trim and realistic. Even punctuation is spare. Instead of quotation marks, different colors indicate a change in speaker, and different size fonts suggest heightened feeling and raised voices with more verve than exclamation points could. The understated humor has been delighting many at story hour. The ending is ambiguous to some, hilarious to others, but almost all children and adults are happy with the laughs along the way.
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