This Is Not My Hat

Written By Jon Klassen


This Classic award winning book features a tiny fish with a nice hat, which just happens to fit him so well. However, with it not being his hat, trouble is not far behind in this low key but very humorous novel by Jon Klassen. The book is very simple but is able to capture the reader's attention in a way that most books don't. There are many different dynamics that this book offers and although it appears simplistic, there's no denying that there is more to it than one might think.

Literary elements

This short story features just three characters, a tiny fish, a big fish, and a crab that has a hard time keeping a secret. This will clearly take place in the ocean and is never out right said, but one can assume from the cover. We are faced here with a problem where the tiny fish steals a hat from the big fish and doesn't think any repercussions will occur. However, he doesn't know that the big fish is close behind him. With the chase from the bigger fish, Klassen does a great job of letting the reader know that he is coming for his hat. The book ends open ended with no real clear explanation of what happens to the tiny fish, but just a photo of the big fish swimming away with his hat. This could potentially show children that there will be problems once you take whats not yours, or that you may eventually get caught in the act. It is told from the tiny fish's point of view in a simplistic yet entertaining way.

Physical Features

Overall, this book is rectangular with a hard surface. It is on pretty large pieces of paper and makes flipping the pages suspenseful. I believe that the author did this so the suspense can build with each new sequence and page. The pages are soft and smooth. I believe this does add to the book in a way. With the chase of the big fish we are able to see the fish travel. We can also see how large this fish is in comparison the the fish that he is chasing.

Visual Elements

Throughout this book we see many vertical lines used in the illustrations. Seaweed is used in the illustrations to show height and how small the tiny fish was and how big the big fish was in comparison. Also the use of black throughout the book sets the mood for a dark and scary "chase" from the big fish to the little fish. The characters are round in stature and this can imply a never ending chase going on. Also, the distance and size of the big fish taking up the whole page allows the reader to get a feel for the big fish protecting. These shapes are repeating throughout. Overall, these elements provide the reader with a great visual aid to help them understand size and will also imply a dark setting from the dark. The circles counteract the depressing mood in a way allowing for a great balance.

Artistic Style

This is a basic level children's book with the illustrations playing a major role in the overall theme of the book. Clearly by the illustration and the art, one can tell that this is clearly a cartoon art style. The overall meaning here is depicted in the humor of the book and really ties together at the end. It makes for an easy to follow book that tells a humorous story.

Artistic Media

One thing that will catch the attention of this reader is the excellent use of water colors. Not only does it help keep the reader engaged, it provides a very warm and cool theme to the book. It also helps accurately depict the fact that this is supposed to take place in an ocean.
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Elements of illustration

This book does an interesting job of using the elements to it's advantage. For one thing, the text are all on the outside separated from the picture. I believe that this was so the author could keep the overall theme of darkness to the book. One thing that I found interesting was the use of the illustrations on two pages versus the one page method. When the big fish was shown, it took up two pages and the text was at the top, however with the big fish it only took up one page with the text on the second page. I believe this method was used to capture the size of the big fish and to help us focus our attention here. Also with the way the pages built up it kind of felt that the story was in motion the whole time.

Interplay of text and illustration

The direction of this book is read from left to right, obviously. Every character and motion presented follows this same pattern and it makes for an interesting combination of the two elements. The picture dominates the page that it's on and lets the reader visualize the next move. It wasn't until the very end that the Big fish changes direction that we see a switch. This was after the plot. While the big fish moved right, he was looking for something and had a goal. As he moved left, it allowed the reader to help them understand that the goal had been accomplished. So while the pictures do a build up, so does the text and this helps the book come together as a whole.
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Klassen, J. (2012). This is not my hat. Somerville, MA: Candlewick press.

Picture Books - Artistic Media. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from