This Is Not My Hat

5 min. Dist. by Weston Woods. 2014. $59.95. ISBN 9780545675505.
PreS-Gr 3—The picture book (Candlewick, 2012) of this title relies on the pause for turning pages, allowing readers to absorb the action more easily than the video. In both, a tiny fish steals a little blue bowler from a big sleeping fish and, without remorse, justifies his crime. ("It was too small for him anyway.") The book's pauses enhance the humor and build tension. The discordant, ominous strings that make up the video's soundtrack do much to build suspense. The blackout that occurs when the big fish follows the tiny one into dense seaweed might at first make viewers wonder what just happened and ask for a second viewing, but it is, indeed, a dramatic and effective conclusion. The art is true to Klassen's deceptively simple work, and where the film adds real humor is in the eyes of the characters. When the big fish wakes suddenly, his eyes roll upward toward where the hat should be, then they turn into slits as he determinedly pursues the perpetrator. Likewise, the crab's look of surprise seems to share the moment with viewers by staring, wide-eyed, directly at the camera. One may not have anticipated the thief having a British accent and may have also imagined his voice a great deal haughtier. Yet, narrator John Keating elicits sympathy for the thief. His delivery makes the fish seem more unwitting and misguided than disordered. Overall, well done.—Constance Dickerson, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, OH

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