Firstly, a disclaimer. I read and reviewed this book for entirely selfish reasons. My son is ten and considers himself waaay beyond picture books. If his reading material doesn’t contain wizards and/or gruesomely detailed descriptions of violent acts, he’s not interested (and quite rightly so). I, on the other hand, am perfectly comfortable with picture books and have a growing collection of them. I’m 43 and consequently pretty much beyond embarrassment.
Secondly, a caveat. I already love the work of Jon Klassen. If you’re unfamiliar with his first solo picture book I Want My Hat Back, I urge you to dash out to your local book emporium (or visit the D.A.D Shop) and buy a copy, whether you’re five, ten or 43. You like laughing, right? It’s hilarious. And you love beautiful illustration, correct? It’s a beaut. Seriously, go and pick it up. You can thank me later.
And finally, a review. Klassen’s latest book We Found A Hat is linked thematically to his previous run of works in that it centres round a singular piece of headwear. The titular hat is discovered by two wandering tortoises, both of whom greatly admire it (but one of whom has secret designs on owning the hat). To say much more here would be to give away the simple and beautifully paced story. What I will say is that it’s lovely: funny, gorgeous and light of touch. Its simple illustrative style belies a big heart. The way in which Klassen conveys a range of emotions through careful use of an intentionally graphic illustration style is a masterclass in storytelling. Oh, and a note for the designers: the typography is pretty tasty too. Nicely restrained and carefully set, even the hand-drawn stuff.
Another modern classic by Klassen? Most definitely. Two thumbs up. And a doff of the hat.