Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jon Klassen Blog Tour #TeamFish

So, most people who read this blog know that Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back (E. B. White Read-Aloud Award. Picture Books) is one of my favorite books of the year. Actually, it is one of my favorite books of all time.  I love the book. It made my list of Books I Could Read a Million Times. It makes me smile every single time I read it and I love to find a person who has not heard of it so I can hand it to them and watch them read it.  Really, one that I would take to a desert island if I could only take a few favorite books. And really, who could tire of the book trailer? 

I had no idea how much I would love this book when I first mentioned it at the end of this post about upcoming books.  

And since that first mention, I have reviewed it, I Want My Hat Backrevisited it in a post called I Want My Hat Back, Revisited and decided to write my own persuasive essay on this year's 10 for 10 Picture Book Event:  10 Books in Which Characters Are Eaten. And thanks to some VERY GOOD FRIENDS, I have my own red hat and a set of Christmas ornaments of bear and rabbit. #teambear

So, you can imagine how happy I was when I heard that Jon Klassen had written ANOTHER book about hats, This Is Not My Hat .  I had no idea what to expect but I knew I would love it (and I do!). And, imagine how thrilled I was to be invited to be part of the blog tour and to interview Jon Klassen about his work.  Not only did I get to ask Jon some questions, I got an advanced copy of the new book and I loved it, loved it, loved it!

Now that you know you have to have both of these books -- for yourself and as gifts for everyone you know, here is what Jon Klassen has to say about his new book, hats, and his upcoming work:

Franki:  Did the idea for THIS IS NOT MY HAT come before or after the publication and response to I WANT MY HAT BACK?

Jon:  The idea came after the publication, and after it had already gotten a little bit of traction. I had wanted to get an idea sooner, just because you do worry that whatever the response is, it will affect how you work on the next one, but I had to get through some stories that didn't work before this one showed up.

Franki:  As a huge fan of I WANT MY HAT BACK, I was worried I’d be disappointed with the new book, but I loved it just as much!   What was your hope for this new book? What were you trying to give to readers?

Jon:  Thank you! It was tricky, because we didn't mind the idea of doing something that fit in with the previous book, but we wanted it to stand on it's own for people who hadn't seen I Want My Hat Back. I think more than anything that was the main goal. Also just personally I wanted something I was going to be interested in working on for its own reasons. I do like that, taken together, the two books sort of make the hat an abstract thing that just gets the story going. It's neat to just drop a hat on a character and suddenly there's implications to that.

Franki:  We get to know your characters so well in your books, even though they don’t always say much.  What’s the trick for that? Do you feel that it is the illustrations that let us know your characters or is it something else?

Jon:  I think there's something to making a character very simple-looking and calm and then giving that a lot of context. Someone looking sort of blank and calm can be a boring picture, but then if you say "this person just found out he's very sick," you start pouring all you know about what that would feel like onto him, and it becomes really personal and you're using your own experiences to make up for what he's not giving you visually. There are some decisions to be made on the illustration side about eye direction and things like that, but they are mostly symbolic. If a character looks behind him because he is guilty of something, you can't draw a guilty eye, at least I can't, but you can say that he's guilty, and then you look at the eye again and think "yeah, that is one guilty-looking eye."

Franki:  So, you write a lot about hats. Do you wear hats? Have you ever had problems with other people wanting to wear your hat?

Jon:  I do wear a baseball hat a lot. I wear it so much that it doesn't really appeal to people to want to wear my hat themselves. But as a kid, there aren't many things that get to you faster than someone taking your hat off of you. Maybe it's embarrassing because it sort of necessitates them being taller to actually get at the hat? I don't know.

Franki:  So, are you #teamrabbit or #teambear?

Jon:  I have to say, I was surprised to see those teams spring up. Not only because it's flattering, but because I'm not sure how you pick them. When I've talked to people who didn't think the book was great for kids because of how it ends, I've tried to make the case that, if the story has a point at all, it exists outside the characters themselves and what they might be aware of, and that it's up to the audience to take what happened as a whole and put it together. But I guess if I was made to choose, I'd choose the bear because, as far as I can see, the rabbit does nothing redeeming.

Franki:  Will we see the bear from I WANT MY HAT BACK in any future books?  His fans miss him and would love to see him star in another story.

Jon:  I don't have anything against him coming back if there's a good book for him to be in!

Franki:  What’s next for you? For those of us who are anxiously awaiting your next book already, can you tell us anything about it?

Jon:  So far all I've got are animals staring at each other. 

If  you haven't had time to stop by the blogs on the rest of Jon Klassen's blog tour, take time to do so. You will learn some very important things!

Mon, Oct 8: Playing by the Book 
Tues, Oct 9: 100 Scope Notes 
Wed, Oct 10: My Best Friends Are Books 
Thurs, Oct 11: Elizabeth O. Dulemba 
Fri, Oct 12: Wahm-Bam 
Mon, Oct 15: Lost in the Library 
Tues, Oct 16: My Little Bookcase 
Wed, Oct. 17: A Year of Reading


  1. I read This is Not My Hat yesterday. I love reading a book that kids gasp and laugh. They clapped when I was done!

  2. Anonymous3:33 PM

    This book has gotten fantastic reviews in so many blogs I read! It's definitely on our Christmas list.


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