This Is Not My Hat



Little fish tries to outsmart big one in funny thief tale.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Shows fish in their habitat, with undersea plants and a crab.

Positive messages

Just because you think no one saw you doing something wrong doesn't mean you won't get caught or there won't be consequences. Also, it's implied that it's wrong to steal. And sometimes you can get into trouble by fooling yourself and being overconfident.

Positive role models

The big fish calmly seeks justice.

Violence & scariness

It's implied but not shown that the big fish eats or otherwise overpowers the little fish to get his hat back.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 2013 Caldecott Medal winner This Is Not My Hat is the follow-up (but not a sequel) to Jon Klassen's award-winning I Want My Hat Back. It's slyly funny as it pits an overconfident little fish who thinks he won't get caught against the big fish whose hat he stole. The text and illustrations are simple, but they pack a punch with understated humor and even a life lesson about moral comeuppance.

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What's the story?

A little fish steals a hat from a sleeping big fish and is confident that no one saw him do it and no one will catch him. He swims to \"where the tall plants grow big and tall and close together\" and is sure of one thing: \"Nobody will ever find me.\" But as the art slyly shows, someone does: the big fish.

Is it any good?


Fans of Jon Klassen's award-winning I Want My Hat Back (2011) will be happy to have another low-key but subversively funny adventure involving a wild creature and a hat. The minimalist illustrations tell so much, with the doomed reality often in contrast with the little fish's overconfident narration. For example, he boasts that the crab who saw him take the hat "said he wouldn't tell anyone which way I went." But on the very next page, we see the crab lift a claw, clearly showing the big fish the little one's escape route.

The story and images are simple, but the drama and subtle humor grow on you and stand up to repeated readings aloud, which kids will surely beg for.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether it's OK to steal. Is it still wrong, even if you can get away with it? Why?

  • If you read I Want My Hat Back, how do you think this books compares? Which one is funnier?

  • How do the pictures help tell the story? How do you know the big fish found the little fish?

Book details

Author:Jon Klassen
Illustrator:Jon Klassen
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Ocean creatures, Science and nature
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:October 9, 2012
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 8
Read alone:5 - 8
Available on:Nook, Hardback
Award:Caldecott Medal and Honors

This review of This Is Not My Hat was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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