This book is very odd, and dark, but in a rather cute way. The main protagonist is a very Eeyore-esque bear in search of his missing hat. He goes around the forest asking various animals if they have seen it. Each animals comes up with a different excuse/reason/lie for not having seen the hat. When the bear finally remembers who does have his hat…well, lets just say the consequences aren’t so friendly.
The images are very eerie. Each page has a beige background, and the only objects colored in are the bear and the animal he is talking to, along with whatever pond or twigs are lying around. Each of the animals stares straight at the reader throughout the entire book, the creatures don’t look at each other until the very end when the bear confronts the hat thief.
The book has won a number of awards since being published in 2011:
Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Honor, 2012
E.B. White Read Aloud Award, 2012
Bank Street Irma Black Awards, 2012
ALA Notable Children’s Books, 2012
The Horn Book Fanfare, 2012
New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Books, 2011
It’s also been a very popular choice at the library, very rarely do I see it on the shelf because it is almost always checked out to somebody. The images, simple Chinese brush drawings, and the text are very simple and align very neatly together. The text is composed entirely of dialogue, very polite dialogue too I might add. There are no extras in the illustrations the way there is with books like Rosie’s Walk. This book is very straightforward, and charming in its own way. I like the honesty of the story. Each animal has something funny to say when asked about the hat. I also like that the color of the font changes when a different animal is introduced.
You feel so bad for the bear when he lies on his back, despondent and says:
My poor hat I miss it so much.
The text is very reflective of a young child who has lost a beloved toy. I think that is the charm of the bear. The last page, with the bear just plopped on the ground with the hat back on its head is incredibly adorable.