It's a classic problem: two turtles, one hat. Well, maybe not classic, but you get the idea. In the just-released and last book of his Hat series, Jon Klassen's wit shines. Though his previous two Hat stories feature different characters, they both begin with a common problem – a stolen hat. We Found A Hat, however, is all about the moments before the grab.
There is so much brilliance in this book, and to be fully appreciated, it helps to know the series, as the pace and place of each differs subtly but smartly. In I Want My Hat Back, we clod through the forest with a bear, who slowly comes to the realization of who stole his hat at a pace not unlike that of one waking up from a long winter's rest. In This Is Not My Hat, readers tail an underwater chase that is slow but necessarily suspenseful, with images and ending that, like vision under water, are clear enough, but not quite. We Found A Hat, perhaps fittingly for the last in the series, takes place in the desert. Who better than turtles to force the reader to slow down and savor the moral agony of friendship versus fashion? In this barren landscape, there are sounds in the pictures – the shape of the cacti echoes that of the newly found 10-gallon hat and the rocks echoes the turtles' shells. The overall design of word and text calls back to each of the previous books.
The only thing that could make this book better is if Klassen partnered with a milliner to offer a box set complete with accompanying headwear. One could only hope.