Lerner and Goldhor are so agenda-driven—their message to Be Your Own Person!
feels like it's being nailed to your forehead—that their story is more like a lecture, despite the peerless Oxenbury's sweet-hearted illustrations. Franny has a great mop of wild red hair—her pride and joy. Mother, sister, and father all advise her to get it cut—or at least tamed—but she refuses. Comes the day of the family reunion and her mother insists that she get a hair-do, which is essentially piling the hair in a topknot. At first Franny is appalled, but when a bird takes up residence in her hair, she decides it might be all right. As in several other recent stories about tending to unexpected tenants, (The Singing Hat
, p. 187; Albert
, p. 263), Franny accommodates the bird by bathing instead of showering, sleeping upright, and doing deep-knee bends to take off her shoes. She is the hit of the reunion (bringing happiness to the dour and the halt in another of Lerner and Goldhor's ham-handed lessons)—but decides the next day to get her hair cut. Why? "A little birdie told me to," she chirrups as she hands the clippings to the bird to build a nest. This force-feeding of Franny's nonconformity is enough to make rebellious youngsters want to toe the line, if this is what being a maverick means. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >