Review: Big Wig by Kathleen Krull

big wig

Big Wig: A Little History of Hair by Kathleen Krull, illlustrated by Peter Malone

I am a huge fan of Krull’s nonfiction books for children.  Just as her earlier books, this one has a wry sense of humor and contains fascinating facts.  Here the subject is the history of hairdos.  Krull starts with prehistory in Africa and then travels forward until 2007 where the most expensive haircut in history is purchased for $16,300.  In between, readers will learn about different trends in color, styles, lengths and curls.  The book takes an already interesting topic and through details and facts makes it even more compelling. 

Krull’s writing is skillful as always, bundling intriguing facts together into small stories that capture a moment in time.  Her tone of wonder and interest makes for an inviting read, encouraging readers to be excited about the information as well.  Make sure you head all the way to the end and read about the history of hair extensions too.

Malone’s illustrations are fine lined and work well to both depict historical figures and to place them in unique and hair-raising situations.   He changes his style of illustration to match the time period and culture at times, such as the Japanese samurai warrior page.  His colors are just as fine and carefully selected as his lines are.

No snarls in this book.  In fact, it goes to great lengths to avoid tangles.  One might say, this is a top-knot book.  Appropriate for ages 7-10.

Reviewed from copy received from Arthur A. Levine Books.

Review: An Annoying ABC by Barbara Bottner

annoying abc

An Annoying ABC by Barbara Bottner, illustrations by Michael Emberley

Take a very funny trip through the alphabet in a series of mishaps in this silly picture book.  When Adelaide starts the story off by annoying Bailey the chain of events carries all the way through the classroom from A to Z.  Children are crying, fuming, howling, and evening stumbling and tumbling before it reaches the end.  But then, when everything is done, Adelaide apologizes! 

Bottner has created a zany way to do the ABCs filled with plenty of action and nonsense.  This is a modern classroom filled with characters that are depicted in detail by Emberley.  He manages to imbue each of them with their own sense of personality and style, all 26 of them.  It is a book that races along thanks to the pacing of Bottner’s words, but readers who linger on each page will get a better sense of the story itself as told through the illustrations.  It’s a pleasant mix of words that are welcoming and fast, and pictures that are worth exploring.

A thrilling ABC, this is one of those books where children act like children and laughter abounds.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.