by Jon Klassen
Does your toddler have a coffee table? If so, this is the book you need. It is all in tasteful autumnal hues. The pictures have a very of the moment Scandinavian feel to them. The endorsement on the back cover is from The Guardian. When the photographers arrive for your Vogue Living shoot, you can shove Peppa Pig’s Fire Engine and Thomas the Tank Engine’s Big Lift and Look Book under the cot, seat your child on an appropriate piece of Ercol and give him I Want My Hat Back.
The plot centres on a dopey bear who questions a series of animals about his lost hat, including a wily rabbit who is actually, unnoticed by dopey bear, wearing the hat in question. Lying on his back feeling sorry for himself, dopey bear flashes back to the rabbit interview, races back to recover the hat, and then, it is darkly suggested, eats the rabbit.
There is no narrator, only staccato bits of dialogue between the animals. I defy even the most reluctant reader- aloud not to do funny voices for this one. The text demands it. H found it completely hysterical the first few times, and the bear / rabbit face-off still gets a lot of laughs.
It works for the toddler but will also work for older children, who will get the jokes at a different level, and will likely greatly enjoy the bear’s cycle of blinding self-pity, sudden realisation and towering rage.
H comment: (shouts) NAUGHTY RABBIT! NAUGHTY RABBIT! HE A NAUGHTY BOY MUMMY!