When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened…
This Is Not My Hat is a perfect picture book. The story is quirky and captures children’s attention, the illustrations are wonderful and the ending is unexpected. The thing that really makes this picture book stand out for me is that the illustrations tell a slightly different story to the text. Tiny fish tells us that Big Fish probably won’t wake up for a long time and that he probably won’t notice that his hat is gone, but the illustrations tell us that this is not the case. The humour of the story comes from these mismatched illustrations and text. This just goes to show you what an incredibly talented story teller Jon is and the wonderful things that can be achieved in the 32 pages of a picture book.
Jon’s illustrations are quite basic, but he has managed to convey so much humour and emotion on each page. I love the way that Big Fish’s expression changes when he realises something isn’t quite right and he figures out pretty quickly what has happened. Jon uses a very limited colour palette in his illustrations (mostly brown, green, blue, grey and black) and these set the tone of the story. It’s not all bright and colourful so you know straight away that it’s not going to be a bright and happy story. I like the way that the story moves with the fish (swimming away towards the right) and the way that Jon shows this movement through the bubbles that follow each of the fish.
My absolute favourite thing about This is Not My Hat is the surprise ending that shocks you and also makes you laugh. After reading I Want My Hat Back I kind of expected a shocking ending but it still made me laugh, and I’m sure children will too. If you want a picture book that you will enjoy even more than the children you’re reading it to, get a copy of This is Not My Hat from your library or bookshop now.
5 out of 5 stars
Join me tomorrow when I host Jon Klassen on his This is Not My Hat blog tour. I’ll be asking Jon about being an author/illustrator, how he creates his illustrations, and what he does when he’s not working on books.