Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1 *Starred Review* Klassen's authorial debut, I Want My Hat Back (2011), became one of the surprise picture-book hits of the year. This follow-up is really only related in its hat-theft theme, animal characters, deadpan humor, and a suggestively dark conclusion. Which might seem like everything, but whereas the first book featured light sleuthing by a semi-dopey bear looking to find his lost lid, this is a similar story from a fishy absconder's point of view. "This hat is not mine. I just stole it," claims a minnow darting through the deep-sea black. He tells how he lifted it from a bigger fish. At each stage, the minnow reassures himself that he's gotten away with his perfect crime. We see it ain't so, as the big fish trolls along right behind him, right down to the minnow's final, prophetic double entendre: "Nobody will ever find me." Once again, the simple, dramatic tension and macabre humor mesh splendidly with Klassen's knack for tiny, telling details and knockout page turns. Who knew hat thievery was such a bottomless well? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Klassen's debut was a #1 New York Times best-seller and Geisel Honor Book. The publisher is rolling out a 15-city tour and pulling out all the publicity stops in support of this release. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2012 August #4
Like Klassen's very funny and much-praised I Want My Hat Back, this story involves a hat theft; this time, Klassen ups the ante by having the thief narrate. It's a small gray fish who has stolen a tiny bowler hat from a much larger fish ("It was too small for him anyway," the little fish sniffs. "It fits me just right"). Klassen excels at using pictures to tell the parts of the story his unreliable narrators omit or evade. "There is someone who saw me already," admits the little fish, about a goggle-eyed crab. "But he said he wouldn't tell anyone which way I went. So I am not worried about that." The spread tells another story; the crab betrays the small fish in a heartbeat, pointing to its hiding place, "where the plants are big and tall and close together." Readers hope for the best, but after the big fish darts in, only one of them emerges, sporting the hat. It's no surprise that the dominant color of the spreads is black. Tough times call for tough picture books. Ages 4â8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)
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School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2012 September
PreS-Gr 1âWith this new creation, Klassen repeats the theme from I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick, 2011), but with a twist. The narrator here is the thief-a small, self-confident fish who has pilfered a little blue bowler from a big sleeping fish. He wastes no time or words in confessing his crime as he swims across the page announcing, "This hat is not mine. I just stole it." He continues his narrative with no regrets, but with a bit of rationalizing ("It was too small for him anyway.") as he swims to his hiding place, unaware that the big fish is in quiet pursuit. Readers, of course, are in on this little secret. When the two disappear into a spread filled with seaweed, the narration goes silent, and youngsters can easily surmise what happens as the big fish reemerges with the tiny blue bowler atop his head. Simplicity is key in both text and illustrations. The black underwater provides the perfect background for the mostly gray-toned fish and seaweed while the monochromatic palette strips the artwork down to essential, yet exquisite design. Movement is indicated with a trail of small white bubbles. This not-to-be-missed title will delight children again and again.âCarolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH
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