GIVEAWAY! I Want My Hat Back! by Jon Klassen

When Candlewick Press approached me to review I WANT MY HAT BACK by Jon Klassen, I sent some questions for Jon, and then the book HIT. Everybody went nuts over it! So much so, it became a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year.
     I had a feeling it would. This book struck me from the start as something different and I must admit, I absolutely adore it, both from a writer's standpoint and an illustrator/design perspective. It's subtle, it's simple, yet deep. It's everything a good picture book should be. So, I'm thrilled to finally be able to share Jon's answers with you today...

Q. Hi Jon, I adore your new I Want My Hat Back! Congratulations on such a stunning book. I find it somewhat reminiscent of Eric Carle's cut paper style, but with a modern, fresh new voice. Was he an inspiration? (Any others?)
A. Thank you very much! I'm glad you like the illustrations too. Eric Carle will probably always be an inspiration, even just because he was so clean and clear with his books and the way they are designed. I think kids, or even just people in general, like a big clean shape on the page. I definitely do, anyway. I like a lot of Inuit art - I look at that stuff sometimes, and I think a few elements of how they put variation into big shapes finds its way into my stuff. I really [like? love?] how a lot of Inuit art has these animals and people that are big simple shapes, but they always ends up also having a ton of character and even emotion in them as well.

Q. The story seems so simple but takes a rather dramatic turn in the climax which could inspire much discussion depending on who is reading. It struck me that you were taking a chance with the twist - much as Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Seuss did in their day (see article: "The Children's Authors Who Broke the Rules"). Did you feel you were?
A. I don't think I felt I was taking too much of a chance - I don't think I would've been interested in the story if it had ended any other way. I don't think you should set out to consciously break any conventions or anything like that just for the sake of it - it really did feel like that was the ending that needed to happen if the story was going to make any sense.

Q. Truly, both the art and the story seem deceptively simple as they portray much more complex concepts. What was your thinking as you approached this book?
A. I was pretty nervous making this book because I'd never written one before, and because I wanted to do something simple, which always feels a bit risky because if it doesn't work it can come off as lazy. I knew I didn't want the characters do be doing very much physically, but I liked the idea that they were maybe nervous to be in the book, too. Like they didn't really know why they'd been asked to do it. I have trouble "believing" in characters that I would make up, I just don't do it very often, but I relaxed when I started to think of them as actors in something that they didn't really want to be in. I can believe in that.

Q. Your style is so distinct. Do you mind talking some about your process, or the evolution of your look?
A. The process for the illustrations for this book was to do big silhouettes with black ink and then scan them and add color and details digitally. I work digitally from scratch a lot, but the more I get into doing work that's going to get printed, the more I find it looks better if you start with something that's been done with a real, kind of messy medium and then tighten up the things that need tightening once its been brought into the computer. Computers are great at processing and adjusting things that were done with a little less control than you'd have if you'd started digitally.

I agree! Thanks so much for visiting, Jon!

So as we do more and more these days, I am hosting a giveaway! As soon as I have 30 comments (this is a biggie - let's shoot high), I will do a drawing and one lucky winner will win a free, signed copy of I WANT MY HAT BACK! (Must live in the continental US or Canada to win, and include a contact email address in your comment (you at soandso dot com is fine). And y'all be sure to add that email address - you'd be amazed how many people didn't qualify for the last drawing because I had no way to contact them!!!!

And check out this awesome trailer and see if you can figure out the mystery:


Dana said…
Thanks to you both for an interesting interview. Very exciting giveaway!
(I hava a US address)
AMP said…
Great interview!

annemarie AT annemariepace DOT com
Kimberly Lynn said…
I've been wanting to read this one. Fun interview!

Kimberly Lynn
LadyD said…
Adorable and I love the violin, cymbal crash ending on the trailer!

ladydpiano-lessons AT yahoo Dot com
Shirley said…
Wow, I just love his work, and this book is a must-read..thank you for such a great interview and the chance to win!
Doug said…
Thanks for the interview! This was the first time I have seen what the author actually looks like. Love the book.. I want it!
Elizabeth, thanks for the post and for the giveaway! Oh, I want that boooooook!
me (at) juanamartinezneal (dot) com.
This sounds like a great picture book. Thanks for having a giveaway!
Anonymous said…
I bet you will have 30 comments in the wink of a bear's eye!

I definitely want to participate in the giveaway, and congratulations to Jon on a great book and well deserved accolades!

Janeen Mason said…
Elizabeth, you are so generous with your time and energy. Thank you for all you do for the pb community. I loved this interview, and the trailer has my attention! You can certainly pick 'em. This book is gaining national attention. I've read other great reviews of I WANT MY HAT, and would turn cartwheels down the street if I won the book!
Janeen Mason said…
Maybe some day I'll learn to type... or at least to edit properly! It should have said "I WANT MY HAT BACK"... (mortified.)
K L Bradshaw said…
Love this post. Thanks for sharing the interview. I've been admiring his work and wondered about his technique. The trailer was fun as well. By the way, I spent way too much time this morning on your blog...lots of nice posts.
apple blossom said…
sounds like a lovely book. I love children's books. please count me in thanks
live in USA
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com
Laurel said…
LOve this book, this blog, this interview. Laurelsnyder at gmail dot com
Cathy C. Hall said…
I keep seeing this book everywhere--now I know why! (LOVE the music on that trailer, too!)

cathyhall55 at hotmail dot com
Patricia Cruzan said…
The music adds a great deal to the trailer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
I'd like to win the book.

Kristi Valiant said…
I've seen this cover a number of times and am ready to get my hands on the book. Looks fun.
Kristi at kristivaliant dot com
Caroline said…
gorgeous book! shame I don't qualify for the giveaway as I live in Australia, but just wanted to comment anyway!
Gail said…
Great post, e! It's always so interesting to me to see inside the thought process of another writer (or especially a creative illustrator!) Please add me to the giveaway group!
kidlitgail (at) gmail (dot) com
This book looks really cute!
Loved the interview with the author.
Adorable video.
Thanks for the chance at winning this book.
sandytoz AT hotmail DOT com
Great interview, Elizabeth. I know a family with small children who would love this book. TFS.
Jacki said…
I would love to win this one!
Anonymous said…
I wanted to order this book and it was out of stock. I was excited to see it pop up in my email.

Dalis said…
I love the illustrations on the video... wow... I hope I am the super duper lucky winner!

-- dalis
alidalis AT comcast DOT net
Rebecca said…
Fabulous! I love this book. I was just thrilled when it came in as a new book to our Children's Department. It immediately went on my wishlist. :D

rballard AT athenslibrary DOT org
Mrs. B said…
This book is fun and I love the bear!! He is awesome. Excellent interview too!
Kathy said…
Love this book! Maybe a Caldecott Winner? :-) It is in our Mock Caldecott list! :-) That would be great!

Kbuchsbaum at HWPL dot org
Jose Chac said…
I really really would love to read this book! Going to keep my fingers crossed for this one!
Margreet said…
What a great the picture at the front...thanks for the chance to win the giveaway!
xxx Margreet
Jessica said…
Thank you so much for sharing such an interesting post. I will try to watch the video after the kiddos wake from their nap! Awesome interview too!
Jessica's Craft Shaque
Glenna said…
Looks like a great book!
DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! I've already emailed her and will announce her name in a post above... :) e
Rhonda Miller said…
Thanks for sharing the interview.
rmpoohbear75 at gmail dot com
Michelle said…
Hope I sneak into this great giveaway! Love the book and the interview was an added bonus!

Jane Gray said…
What a awesome book! My daughter and hubby would enjoy this book!

Popular Posts