Rounding out what is now being called the Hat Trilogy, Klassen presents the story of two tortoises that find a hat.
I Want My Hat Back (2011) concerns the victim of a hat theft. The Caldecott-winning This Is Not My Hat (2012) focuses on the perpetrator of a similar crime. In each book, the picture-text dynamic implies that the hat’s rightful owner does violence to the thief at the end. This tale is both more ambiguous and less action-oriented. Two tortoises find one hat in the desert. Each tries it on; though it comically covers each tortoise’s entire head, “it looks good on both of us,” they conclude. Deciding that one hat is not enough for two tortoises, they leave it in order to watch the sunset from a nearby rock, where they later bed down. Klassen employs his customary flat, minimalist style in a desert palette, his characters’ heavy-lidded eyes doing the subtextual heavy lifting: they may say they are watching the sunset, but each is clearly thinking about the hat. The final act, in which one tortoise descends the rock toward the hat and the other, though supposedly sleeping, narrates a star-filled dream in which they both wear hats, challenges readers to construct their own endings. There are no belly laughs here, but patient children and Klassen’s fans will be fully engaged.
Beguiling. (Picture book. 4-8)