This is not my hat by Jon Klassen
Walker Books, 2012. ISBN 0 7636 5599 0.
(Ages 4+) Recommended. Picture book. Humour. A small fish appears. He is wearing a small jaunty hat on its head and is proudly telling the reader that this is not his hat, he just stole it. He stole it from a much larger fish who was asleep, and the little fish hopes that he remains asleep for a long time. The illustrations show a different story, as the larger fish wakes and notices immediately that his hat has gone. What fun for the listeners as they see the changing eyes of the larger fish, realising that his hat has gone. But read on. The little fish heads for the seaweed where he thinks he will be safe. Along the way he justifies to himself his theft of the hat, and seeing a lobster, tells him not to tell the larger fish where he is. The next page reveals the larger fish close by being given directions form the very same lobster. Into the weed he swims, and then comes out with his hat.
This is a delightful read a loud, where the audience will be able to join in, warning the little fish about the larger fish, or telling the larger fish where the little fish is. They will be able to pick out the sea creatures shown in the illustrations, and talk about relative size. But of course the standout discussions will revolve around theft, inviting students to contemplate what stealing is and how it affects those who do it as well as those who have had something stolen. The plight of the lobster will also be a theme for discussion in the classroom. The illustrations are another source of interest and discussion as the simplicity of the repeated prints of the two fish is able to give so much depth to the story through minor changes. The readers will follow the eyes and the amount of air bubbles released, giving an indication of how the fish are feeling.