We Found a Hat

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
We Found a Hat Book Poster Image
Two turtles, one hat, and a satisfyingly dreamy solution.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Introduction to chapters. Idea of scarce resources and how to fairly divide them.

Positive Messages

If two individuals want the same thing, they can work out a solution together. Dreams are potent.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One turtle continues to want the hat after they decide it wouldn't be fair for either to have it if both want it, but he reconsiders after his friend recounts his dream. The other turtle dreams of a world where they each have their own hat.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jon Klassen's We Found a Hat folllows I Want My Hat Back and Caldecott Medal winner This Is Not My Hat. Although it's not exactly a sequel, the hats provide this trilogy with a thematic link. In this one, there are two turtles and one hat, so the obvious question is, which turtle will get it? Though there's very little text, the story's divided into three parts that feel like starter chapters, and though the first books were unexpectedly edgy, implying that the big animals ate the small, this one has a sweeter ending.

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What's the story?

In WE FOUND A HAT, two turtles find a hat: "But there is only one hat. And there are two of us." They try it on and it looks good on both of them: "But it would not be right if one of us had a hat and the other did not." So they decide to leave the hat and watch the sunset, though the second turtle's eyes drift back to the hat and we know he still covets it. When his friend slips to sleep, he sees his chance and returns to the hat but reconsiders when his friend wakes up enough to recount his dream -- that both of them have hats. So both turtles go to sleep, and both -- very satisfyingly! -- wear their own hats as they float together through the starry night sky.

Is it any good?

This sly and sweet third picture book in Jon Klassen's hat trilogy gets at the thorny question of what to do when there's only one thing and two friends both want it. In the first two books, the bear appeared to eat the bunny and it seemed the big fish ate the little fish -- unusually edgy conclusions for picture books. But in We Found a Hat, the conflict isn't life-threatening, and kids will identify with the turtle whose gaze keeps shifting back as he contemplates sneaking back to get it when his rival drifts to sleep. Readers might wonder if the turtles could share, but Klassen envisions a dreamier solution in which each turtle happily gets its own hat.

There's very little text, divided up into three sections, and sepia-tinged art jibes with the desert setting. The one bright burst of color is the sunset the turtles watch, as the sun sets on this interesting conceptual trilogy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the problem of two turtles wanting the same thing in We Found a Hat. Can you think of other solutions? Would it work for them to share?

  • The first two sections end with the one turtle shifting his eyes back toward the hat. What do you think he's thinking?

  • Have you read the other books in this hat trilogy? How are the endings to those books different?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and humor

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