In 2011, Jon Klassen wrote a book called “I Want My Hat Back.” The following year, he put out this gem, “This Is Not My Hat.” They both follow a similar story line (each from the opposite viewpoint), which is simple, dark, and hilarious all at once.
A tiny fish wearing a hat swims along in a hat that apparently is not his. He has stolen it from a bigger fish who, he assures us, is sleeping and will never find him.
He blissfully swims into safety in the tall reeds, quietly followed by his vengeful nemesis. We see the following picture. The end.
Yes, it’s a little dark…children’s book noir, if you will. Perhaps if your children are particularly sensitive or young, this book may be unsettling. I mean, our thieving young protagonist gets eaten in the end. But it’s a story told with subtlety, visual humor, and playful roguishness. Lesson learned? You may think you can get away with something…but just when you think you’re safe, BAM. Not a bad moral. And it’s funny.