I always wait for a new Jon Klassen with heady anticipation. He is a masterful storyteller who orchestrates a perfectly balanced dance between elegant illustrations and minimal text.
This third instalment of the ‘hat trilogy’ (as it has become known) is very special indeed. Klassen has an unrivalled knack of telling a beautiful, simple story in a rather ambiguous way, much to the delight of the little and big ones alike! His illustrations are atmospheric and very evocative, and he uses a limited colour palette throughout. He fully understands the usefulness of space when driving the visual narrative around a simple text and he deftly directs our attention with it.
As the ultimate story, it does not disappoint. We Found a Hat follows the dilemma of two tortoises who find one rather attractive hat. They both want it, but there is only one hat, and certainly there are two of them. Klassen skilfully weaves his subtle humour into the story as we follow these two little oddities in their plight; and the reader may see themes of either selflessness or self-gain in the story, depending on how they look at it.
For me, two little tortoises teach us the value of kindness and putting the needs of others firmly above our own.
Jon Klassen was awarded the Kate Greenaway prize for illustration in 2014 for ‘I Want My Hat Back’. You can follow this author and illustrator’s work via his Instagram @jonklassen and his Twitter profile @burstofbeaden