BAD HAIR DAY by Jim Benton


From the "Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist" series, volume 8
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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Another science experiment literally goes hair-raisingly wrong.

Following a 10-year hiatus, Franny returns to whip up more mad science in her bedroom laboratory. Initially rejecting her mother’s efforts to turn her on to hair spray and blow drying, Franny recalls that science is all about exploring the unknown (“Even if it’s the really super-weird stuff that moms like”) and so whips up a line of twisted beauty products. These include a Cosmetic Bazooka that blasts out whole, heavily made-up faces and “shoe polish” that turns high heels into really high heels. Eventually a version of the latter not only extends her pigtails to Rapunzel length, but brings them to life—whereupon they snip themselves off and rush out to menace every barber shop, salon, and furry pet in town. Cue a seesaw struggle which Franny, with help from her canine assistant Igor, ends by temporarily immobilizing her errant locks with hair spray and then presenting her mom with a new “fur” coat. Franny’s enthusiasm for hands-on experimentation, and the slightly menacing grimace she sports in many of the ink-and-wash cartoons that fill half or more of nearly every page, may add a certain raffish charm, but the quaint, not to say sexist, satiric tropes went stale long ago. Franny and her mom present white.

A labored effort to revive a series that never was quite as clever as it tried to be. (Science fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5344-1337-5
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2019


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