Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Hair of Zoe ~ by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2009

Mom and Dad Fleefenbacher think their daughter Zoe's hair is wild and beautiful. And for her kindergarten teacher, Zoe's vivacious tresses were a comfort. But Zoe's about to start first grade, and her new teacher doesn't fool around....

"School has rules," she says. "No wild hair in my class!"

So what are Zoe and her free-spirited hair going to do now? The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School, a 2009 children's book by Laurie Halse Anderson, is about unruly red hair that seems to go far beyond what Zoe wants her hair to do. Some of us have hair that flies away, and Zoe’s hair could do that, too. But does your hair know how to open the cookie jar? Didn't think so. Her hair could "turn on the TV, pour a glass of juice, pet the cat, and play on the computer — all at the same time." And when confronted with those first grade rules, Zoe's hair does all sorts of mischievous things, like tickling classmates and (by shaping itself into a dragon) chasing the teacher away. In the end, however, the book is about cooperation and the wild hair becomes helpful. (I wish I had a young child to share this book with. Cady is 9-1/2 and reads big girl books now.)

Three of my granddaughters fell in love with another book about hair, If I Had Long, Long Hair by Angela Elwell Hunt, published in 1988. Loretta thinks about the good and bad things that might happen if she had long, long hair. She wants it long enough to flow around her like royal robes, but that means it would also be long enough for hamsters to nest in. If her hair grew extraordinarily long, maybe she could use it as a jump rope or be able to sweep the floor with it. But then other people might step on it, and think of how difficult it would be to wash. Loretta was a girl who stopped traffic, and my granddaughters couldn't get enough of her. I have to give this one a 10 out of 10.

You have a chance to vote for The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson, which is in the running to be one of five books that Cheerios puts in their boxes in 2010. Take a minute to do it, because Zoe may be this generation's hair book. Laurie Halse Anderson adds, "Tell them all pretty, pretty please with a headful of unruly red hair, PLEASE VOTE FOR ZOE."

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