If you’re a kid-lit lover like me, you already know that This Is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen won the Caldecott Medal for 2012. (Were you huddled around your computer screen that morning, too, watching the live broadcast and squealing when your favorites were announced? Just me? Ok.)
This Is Not My Hat is an ideal picture book to teach the Common Core Standard of Integrating Knowledge & Ideas: “Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot” and “explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).” The story told by the text is not exactly the same as the story told by the pictures. (Working on a lesson on inference? Grab this book!)
A little fish (the fellow you see on the cover) is narrating the story as he swims. “This hat is not mine,” he admits. He stole it from a big fish, and we see the big fish sleeping. “…(H)e probably won’t wake up for a long time,” says the little fish, and we see the same illustration of that big fish, but now his eyes are wide open. So all the words are from the little fish’s point of view, but we see in the illustrations what the little fish doesn’t realize – the big fish does realize his hat was stolen, does know who took it, and is out to get his hat back. The end shows the big fish with his tiny hat back on his head, and the little fish is nowhere to be seen. Anyone want to infer what happened in the end?
Kids who loved Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back will adore this book, and find similarities beyond the hat theme. So share This Is Not My Hat and compare the information gained from the illustrations to the information we get from the text, and then compare the two books, and you’ll have a double-whammy Integration of Knowledge & Ideas lesson! The endings for both books is left up to the reader to figure out. You can have students debate what they think happens at the end, and give reasons to support their position. Do any of your students think the little fish got away? If he did, what might happen next?
Because there are only three characters in This Is Not My Hat (little fish, big fish, and tattle-tale crab) it’s super-easy to make a Storybox with the book and either stuffed animals, puppets, or felt pieces of the characters for kids to retell the story. If you’re crafty, have kids make hats from brown paper bags (keeping with Klassen’s muted tones) for them to swap and declare, “This is not my hat!”