This morning I got up at 5 a.m. to see (via webcast) the 2012 winners of the biggest awards in children's publishing--the American Library Association (ALA) awards. The film industry has their Golden Globes® and their Oscars®, and we have the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Michael J. Printz Award. Unlike most other book awards, the major children's book awards given by the ALA have no lists of finalists or nominees. It's a surprise every single year (with plenty of speculation beforehand) and I kind of love the secrecy. This year's announcement had both the unexpected and the "ah, of course" books on the lists (including some 2011 Best of the Month titles)--you just never know who is going to win what. Congratulations to this year's winning and honored authors and illustrators:
2012 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
2012 Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
2012 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
#74 I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (2011)
Funny, I’ve never seen my kids laugh so hard when finishing a book. That, and the bear’s unfailingly polite. There has to be points for that. – Melissa Fox
Yeah, it’s awfully soon to tell, but I think this will be a classic. This book had me laughing like nothing has in years. You have to get just the right storytime audience to appreciate the humor and “get” the final joke, but it’s worth it. – Sharon Thackston
Every once in a while I come across a new picture book that I love so much that I carry it around with me and make random people read it. I Want My Hat Back is one of those books.
Oh my word, this book is hilarious. Seriously. And I believe it’s all because of Jon Klassen’s style. I knew Klassen’s name before, not really for the books he’s illustrated but for his one-page graphic story in the collection of funny, creepy, disgusting and odd tales Half-Minute Horrors. It’s a gross-out moment, for sure, but it’s fantastic. I love using it with classes to explain inferences. It’s the coolest thing, watching them figure it out one by one. Now I have added this book. Clearly, Klassen is a sly one. He quietly slips in vital story elements with a wink, knowing only those paying attention will understand. And it works so well. I’m declaring him the King of Inference. He’s fantastic. – Kristi Hazelrigg
Last year I was invited to a little lunch with Jon Klassen. I was very excited since I’d been a big fan of him ever since I saw his work on Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson (it counts dancing cats by twos). Unlike some other animators-turned-illustrators I saw that Klassen avoided the pitfalls of making books that just looked like animated storyboards. Somehow he got the picture book process correct right from the start. Our lunch occurred after this book hit the stratosphere and when asked he confessed that he’d written it with the idea that it would appear as a kind of school play. The characters look right at you and appear to be reciting their lines much as a second grader would in the same situation. Gives the book a whole new feel when you know that, doesn’t it?
The summary from my original review of the book reads, “A bear has lost his hat. To find it he questions a variety of woodland creatures including a fox, a frog, a turtle, a possum, a dear, a snake and a rabbit. The rabbit, for the record, refuses to acknowledge having seen the hat in spite of the fact that he appears to be wearing it. And when the bear realizes the true culprit there will be a price to pay. A deeply amusing price. Painted with Chinese ink and digital art, Klassen’s book falls into that growing category of subversive picture books out there. What makes it stand out, however, is how beautifully put together it all is.”
Another interesting piece of information that came out of the Klassen lunch involved that scene where the bear suddenly realizes that he’s seen his hat and he runs back, past all the other animals, to the rabbit. This is not done in a picture book. You don’t have a character go from right to left against the turning of the pages. Why? I suppose the idea is that it breaks up the flow of th
Is there anything in the world more happymaking than the artwork of a small child?
Perhaps the artwork of a small child inspired by a favorite book. Remember how much my whole family (seriously, every single one of us from 42 to 2) enjoyed Jon Klassen’s deliciously startling I Want My Hat Back?
Rilla was moved to attempt her own rendering of the bear at the pivotal moment when he recalls where he has seen his lost hat. That may be my favorite page in the book—the visual shock of the red background so perfectly captures the drama of the bear’s epiphany, and hints at the outrage he feels.
Now she’s working on a page from another family favorite: Don and Audrey Wood’s The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.