A black child thinks of all the hairstyles she knows as she tries to decide how to wear her hair for her birthday in this British import.
The narrator’s parents take her to the hairdresser, where the child looks at magazines and then starts to think about all the hairstyles she has seen on her family and friends. Her mom wears “dazzling dreadlocks,” her sister experiments with “Bantu knots, a high top fade, braids.” She runs through the looks on boys and men too: her brothers’ designed cornrows, her father’s clean-shaved head and full beard, her uncle’s waves, preserved with a do-rag. An aunt’s short shave, Grandpa’s turbans, a friend’s twist-out…everyone’s hair is beautiful, but the child still doesn’t know what to choose for herself. Finally, Mommy whispers to her, and she knows what style to wear. The rhyming text is upbeat and fun to read despite a few dips in the rhythm. The fanciful, stylized illustrations make large, dramatic shapes of the hairstyles on people (almost all of whom present black) and their pets, with lines and squiggles emphasizing texture and volume. Each character has a distinct personality, and all seem to rejoice in their hair and the process of caring for it. The narrator, her loved ones, and their culture are eminently likable, making this a joyful read.
On par with other books on the subject, this celebration of black hair, culture, and community is one to share. (Picture book. 3-8)