Thursday, February 26, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 13: This is Not my Hat

Wow, the Picture Book 14:14 challenge is almost over. How did we get to day 13 already? I wish we had more time, especially so I can read more of the other posts. I commented faithfully up until around day 8 and then my schedule got hectic and I've not been able to read many. I planned on reading and commenting on every post and now have a lot of catching up to do. Lately all I can do is post my review. Speaking of which...

here it my day 13 book.     

Title: This is Not My Hat
Author: Jon Klassen
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Candlewick
Year: 2012
Word Count: 196 (if I counted correctly, which is iffy as I am half asleep)
Top 10 Element: word play

If you like Klassen's earlier book I Want My Hat Back, then you might like this one as well. It has the same humor in it. Whereas in I Want My Hat Back the story centers on a bear searching for his hat, this story turns that concept around. Now the narrator is not the victim of the crime but the thief. When a small fish steals the little blue bowler hat of a big sleeping fish, he's not worried at all. He's sure he'll get away with it.

lThe fun part of the story is that the pictures and the words contradict each other. While the small fish tells us he's got a plan and it's working perfectly, the illustrations show the big fish following behind him. Usually we think of word play in a picture book as alliteration or silly puns or onomatopoeia. However, this type of humor is also considered word play, and children get a kick out of it. 

In the end the big fish does get his hat back. The fate of the little fish? That is left open-ended, so you can speculate what happened. Perhaps he got "a good talking to" when they were in the thick of the sea weed (or pond vegetation). Perhaps the little fish scurried off so fast when he noticed he'd been caught that the hat fell from head and that was that. Or maybe he became dinner. It's interesting to ask children what they think happened. Some of them come up with very interesting tales.

Some people say the book promotes stealing. Uh, really? (you can read the 30 one-star reviews at Amazon for examples of this and other complaints about the book... though the 213 five-star reviews totally tip the scale here) You know me. I always say its all in how you use the book. This book can actually teach children that just because they think they can get away with something, that doesn't mean they should try it. Wrong is wrong. And I think humor makes them actively think as well.

I was introduced to this book at a SCBWI conference last year. Since I don't have the book and my library doesn't have it either, I don't have a picture of the cover to post. BUT I checked youTube and someone has a video of it being read. To see it clink the link below.

And if you aren't familiar with I Want My Hat Back (or even if you are) you can listen to someone reading it at the following link. I especially love the turtle's voice.  :-)

Which of the two books do you prefer? This is Not My Hat or I Want My Hat Back? Let me know in the comments section.

to read other PB14:14 picture book reviews for day 13, here's the link:


Katie Logonauts said...

This book is such a fun one to read to kids, and I do prefer it (just a tad!) to I Want My Hat Back. Their reactions and comments as the story progresses are just priceless.

Also - how could this book possibly promote stealing?? I think it is clear that the consequences are dire!

Laura Boffa said...

I love both this book and I Want My Hat Back! And I don't think they promote theft or revenge really. Most kids are already aware that stealing is bad and can tell that the book is meant to be funny rather than teach a lesson.

Manju Howard said...

I prefer This is Not My Hat. The subtle eye movements of the big fish tell us so much. Talking about eye movements, I rolled my eyes at "Some people say the book promotes stealing."

Damon Dean said...

Linda, this is a favorite of mine. I think humor is a grand use of word play as well as situational scenarios. Great review, thanks.

Linda H. said...

hey, everyone. Just to clarify: I do not think this book promotes stealing but have read reviews from some parents saying how awful this book is and stating that. I've seen similar things about The Day the Crayons Quit and others that use humor. Either some of the parents read way too much into the books or they don't think their kids are smart enough to get the humor. I just don't understand it. When I think about the books I read as a child, none of them encouraged me to do bad things. They were just books telling a story and I realized that. Some people these days just seem to get their pants in twist over everything.

Vivian Kirkfield said...

It's funny, Linda, because I Love Love Love this book, but Hate Hate Hate the other. ;) ;) Both books are hilarious..Jon Klausen is a genius to be sure! The taking of something that doesn't belong to you is, of course, wrong...but we know (and the child listener knows) that the fish is going to get his just desserts (or be dessert for the big fish). The expressions on the big fish are priceless!
The other book just plain upsets me...the bear kills the rabbit, right...and then lies about it...I don't know, maybe it is the way it is presented or just the way it hits me. And I realize that some parents may think one or both books are fine and some may feel differently.