Above all else, Harold treasures his woolly hat until a crow swoops down and steals it from him.
Harold the bear wears his woolly hat day and night, in winter and in summer. It makes him feel “special” and “different from all the other bears.” When a crow snatches his hat, Harold desperately seeks to win back his most prized possession. Pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depict the forest setting and the conflict amid an all-animal cast of characters. Kousky captures the full range of Harold’s emotions in his expressive face and body language. As the story progresses, Harold offers worms, berries, and shiny treasures in exchange for his hat. Each time, Harold grows more upset as the crow takes the offerings but only caws in reply to his plea for the return of his hat. After Harold discovers the crow’s nest of baby birds, he immediately forgets his anger, asking for neither an apology nor the return of his belongings. He even pursues a friendship with the crow family. While the crow may have acted according to its nature, the abrupt shift in Harold’s relationship with the crow shares the message that being a “helpful bear” is more important than personal feelings or the impact of hurtful actions.
Despite the lively illustrations and a conflict readers will readily recognize, the resolution excuses unkindness to uphold a lesson about self-sacrifice and generosity. (Picture book. 3-6)