Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat stand alone, but they also form a setup for this tale, in which two turtles stumble upon a big white hat in the desert ("We found a hat. We found it together") and try it on in turn ("It looks good on both of us"). Klassen's artwork, spare and sly, tells a different story. The hat does not look good. It looks silly, as if the turtle's head were stuck in a plastic bucket. "We must leave the hat here and forget that we found it," says the first turtle, with fairness in mind. The other turtle's gaze shifts left. It wants that hat. Readers of the earlier stories will recognize that look; it bodes ill. Klassen divides the book into three distinct acts; in the second, as the turtles watch the sunset, the second turtle's eyes again stray toward the hat. Uh-oh. In the third section, the first turtle settles down to sleep, and the shifty-eyed turtle begins inching toward the hat, talking all the while to the first turtle ("Are you all the way asleep?"). Readers who think they know what's coming will be wrong: the conclusion doesn't involve sharing, peacemaking, or violence. Instead, Klassen considers the instant at which a decision to act can break either way, depending on who's tempted and whether anyone else is watching. In contrast to the first two books, which relied on a certain conspiratorial menace, this one ends with a moment of grace and a sky full of stars. All three stories are about justice. It's just that justice doesn't always mean the same thing. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)
Jon Klassen’s typical minimalism reaches a new level of refinement in “We Found a Hat” — in my opinion the best and most stirring in his hat trilogy...Klassen, who speaks the language of the picture book like few other authors and illustrators these days, has created a masterpiece of honest feelings, emotional tension and poetic restraint.
—The New York Times Book Review
In this concluding volume of a thematic trilogy, Klassen employs all his trademark dry wit and deadpan humor to tell the story of a hat-related caper...The three- part narrative has a distinctly Western feel, complete with a desert setting drawn in dusty pink and brown tones—and then, of course, there’s the sense of impending betrayal. The conclusion might surprise even those familiar with Klassen’s twist endings, and the growing tensions, simple narrative, and intriguing details will endear this to many.
—Booklist (starred review)
The conclusion to the “Hat” trilogy offers the sly humor fans have come to expect along with a surprisingly tender ending...In a charming turn, the conflict is resolved through empathy and the bonds of friendship—Klassen’s animals have clearly evolved in their thinking since the bear in I Want My Hat Back and the fish in This Is Not My Hat. The lightest touch of the surreal adds to the dreamy melancholy of this tale. A different but wholly delightful and thought-provoking capper to Klassen’s ingenious series.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Klassen considers the instant at which a decision to act can break either way, depending on who's tempted and whether anyone else is watching. In contrast to the first two books, which relied on a certain conspiratorial menace, this one ends with a moment of grace and a sky full of stars. All three stories are about justice. It's just that justice doesn't always mean the same thing.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The tenderness in this book (with its uplifting ending) is just as surprising as the black humor in the earlier ones. While the book is richer in the context of the two pre- vious volumes, Klassen leaves enough space for uninitiated readers to make their own meaning out of this story about a hat—but, here, also about an enduring and precious friendship.
—Horn Book (starred review)
Rare indeed is the author/illustrator who can create an artistic literary sequence about hat ownership; so rare, in fact, that Jon Klassen may be the only one...Kids may have their own suggestions for how the turtley twosome could have dealt with the hat problem, and while this doesn’t have the dramatic dénouement of This Is Not My Hat, audiences will warm to its wit and sweetness.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Readers may be surprised when the spare, visually witty story ends in dreamland, where both tortoises are floating side by side in a star-sprinkled black sky... both wearing tall white hats. Will this lovely vision survive the light of day? Ask Klassen.
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.
The turtles have the classic Klassen deadpan, their eyes sliding from side to side in a meaning way, and as time ticks on we fear that something bad is going to happen. And perhaps it almost does, but to our relief (or disappointment, depending), this third volume in a headgear trilogy ends with concord under a star-spangled sky.
—The Wall Street Journal
We Found a Hat and the trilogy as a whole provides an entertaining, easy to read story on one level but also grants plenty of space for more complex and lively discussion.
—New York Journal of Books
Klassen makes great use of the turtles’ eye expressions, conveying the complicated emotions of friendship as well as subtle humor...This is a heartwarming, wonderful conclusion.
“We Found a Hat" is a moving story about loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, and the power of imagination.
—The Boston Globe
The most epic trilogy since Lord of the Rings comes to its heart-stopping conclusion...We Found a Hat is a surprisingly nuanced exploration of friendship, bargaining and millinery.
—Globe and Mail
It’s a classic problem: two turtles, one hat. Well, maybe not classic, but you get the idea. In the just-released and last book of his Hat series, Jon Klassen’s wit shines.
Klassen’s hat trilogy (which includes “I Want My Hat Back” and “This Is Not My Hat”) comes to a sweet end in this story about friendship — between turtles in the desert — and selfless-ness.
—The Boston Globe
A perfect ending to this fabulous trilogy. It was definitely worth the wait.
—A Year of Reading (blog)
Longing is conveyed with expressive eyes, the monotone palette, a wonder of understatement and the spare text, a measured guide to dilemma and dreams. In the end, the turtles go with restraint over temptation in a vote for civility and friendship.
—San Francisco Chronicle
The wondrous, funny, wise and lovely "We Found a Hat" is the last in a trilogy of picture books starring animals and hats from gifted author-illustrator Jon Klassen.
There is more to this book than meets the eye, and plenty to discuss around the Caldecott table.
—Calling Caldecott (blog)
Klassen brings dry, deadpan humor to this desert setting complete with cactus, a big sunset and starry skies. It’s the best of the Hat books.
Those who have read and loved the previous two books in the hat series might assume they know how this one will end, but Klassen proves once again he can still surprise with a finale—even if this one is coming a turtle's pace away.
—Globe and Mail
Aug. 30, 2016
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)