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Literature / I Want My Hat Back

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I Want My Hat Back is a picture book by Jon Klassen.

Bear is looking for his hat, and goes to the creatures of the forest in turn asking whether they've seen it.

This includes Rabbit, who definitely didn't take the hat and would never steal anyone's hat.

... Wait a second. Was that my hat...?

His later book This Is Not My Hat is unrelated.

My tropes are gone. I want them back.

  • Bears Are Bad News: While very polite, the Bear is easily angered. Up to and including killing whoever pissed him off.
  • Big Heroic Run: The Bear running to where he knows the hat is.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A rabbit steals from a bear and gets eaten by him for it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Rabbit stole Bear's hat. So Bear kills and eats him.
  • Dull Surprise: All of the animals have the same deadpan expression, including Bear at least until he realizes who stole his hat.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Bear realizes that Rabbit took his hat. The specific moment when the bear realised was when he was asked what the hat looked like and he realised he had seen it while searching.
    "I have lost my hat and nobody has seen it."
    "What does your hat look like?"
    "It's red and pointy and... I HAVE SEEN MY HAT!"
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The book is about someone wanting his hat back.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Bear fails to notice that the Rabbit is wearing his hat when he meets him.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Lying and stealing hats really angers the Bear.
  • Humble Goal: The bear just wants his hat back.
  • Ironic Echo: At the end the Bear lies about seeing the Rabbit in the exact same style the Rabbit used to lie about seeing his hat.
  • Limited Animation: In picture book form. To complement the characters' deadpan facial expressions, each of them are rendered comically stiffly and in very limited positions, with the Bear only having four poses total throughout the book — standing straight, laying on his back, sitting up, and charging straight at Rabbit.note 
  • Oh, Crap!: The rabbit's face as the bear approaches.
  • Pet the Dog: Even though he's busy searching for his hat, when the Bear learns that the Turtle is having difficulty climbing a rock, he immediately offers his help and lifts it up to the top off-screen.
  • Rascally Rabbit: That silly, lying, thieving rabbit.
  • Serious Business: The bear's hat is incredibly important to him, to the point that he is willing to murder whoever stole it.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't steal, or else whoever you stole from might kill and eat you.
  • Suddenly Shouting: The bear is nice and quiet until the "Eureka!" Moment.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • When the bear asks the rabbit if he has seen his hat:
      Have you seen my hat?
      No. Why are you asking me. I haven't seen it. I haven't seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don't ask me any more questions.
    • Later, when someone asks the bear if he has seen the rabbit:
      No. Why are you asking me. I haven't seen him. I haven't seen any rabbits anywhere. I would not eat a rabbit. Don't ask me any more questions.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Yeah, harebrain, steal the bear's hat and wear it in public. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? It's not like the bear is perfectly willing to dine on you.
  • Wham Line: "I HAVE SEEN MY HAT."
  • "You!" Exclamation: "YOU! YOU STOLE MY HAT!"