This Is Not My Hat (John Klassen; Candlewick Press, 2012)
This may be my favourite picture book ever. My daughters love it, too. Adults and children alike can relate to the main character, a little fish, who has lifted a tiny blue bowler hat right off the head of a sleeping big fish. “It was too small for him anyway,” rationalises the little fish. Don’t deny it – we’ve all tried to justify a deceitful act or two. Just last week I told myself that my daughters wouldn’t notice if I finished the bag of jujubes. Plus, they don’t need jujubes (like I do). My favourite illustration is of a googly eyed crab who clearly points big fish in the direction of little fish, immediately after little fish says that crab won’t tell anyone where he went. Little fish narrates with enough deadpan humour for the whole family. The sparse text and simple, but expressive, illustrations work together to create perfect pacing and tons of fun. This book won the Caldecott medal in 2012 for good reason. Don’t borrow it from the library, buy it. You’ll want to read it again and again.