El Ladrón del Sombrero – written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

El Ladrón del Sombrero – written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, translated by Alma Carrasco, NubeOcho, 9788418133657, 2021 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book?  This neat Spanish translation of Klassen’s 2012 contemporary classic, This Is Not My Hat, maintains complete fidelity to the original work. The story follows a little fish who steals a hat from a big fish and thinks he’s too clever to get caught. Moreover, he’s decided to excuse his culpability because, really, the hat is just his size. He heads for his favorite seaweed forest to hide out until the smoke clears, but turns out to be unlucky. Children love predicting the outcome of this story and discussing the morality of the little fish’s choices. The Spanish translation is smooth and captures all the nuance of Klassen’s text. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? The main difference is the title, which now reads (in English translation) as The Hat Thief. It’s more direct than the original and telegraphs to the reader right away that the little fish is morally compromised. However, the mystery of English movie and book titles in other languages is a knotty one and who’s to say whether this variant represents a better option for Spanish speakers?

To whom would you recommend this book?  This remains a great read aloud and storytime option. The Spanish version could be useful for libraries serving Spanish-speaking patrons and bi-lingual classrooms. The simplicity of the text and options for discussion would make it fun for Spanish language classrooms, even for older students or adults learning the language. It’s a great example of the use of reflexive verbs in Spanish.

Who should buy this book? All libraries looking for picture books in Spanish

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you want it in Spanish, you don’t need to preview it. Just get it!

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: May 15, 2021

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