Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back won the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year, and was named an honor book of the 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Clearly I wasn't the only who loved the story about a bear who was trying to track down his misplaced (stolen!) hat, with a fantastic sardonic ending.
This one is about a small fish who nicks a hat from a much larger fish, and his attempted getaway. I like how this book is quite similar to I Want My Hat Back, but written from the complete opposite point of view. Before we were identifying with the victim and now we're seeing the captor's point of view (who also turns out to be a victim).
After the hat swiping, the little thief is quite smug as he darts away, sure that the big fish was dead to the world. Even if he did wake to notice the empty space on his head, he wouldn't have the faintest idea who the thief could be. Should he be suspected, the little fish is confident that he's smart and quick enough to make it to the thick plants, where he will hide and never ever be found.
Many of the pages look similar, but the book isn't a bit boring. I love the four pages of the big fish, right in a row. All four illustrations are nearly identical, except for the way his big fish eye conveys his reaction to the story. Even better, his reaction is a direct contradiction to the text printed on that page. It's so cleverly done.
Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.