BEARD BOY by John Flannery


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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In this illustrated ode to the beard, an impatient son seeks to invent and claim a beard of his own to connect with the cool brush of his father.

“Billy, the best baker in town, had a short boxed beard. All of the barbers were bodaciously bewhiskered….And both of Bobby’s dads rocked boisterous beards.” Full of alliteration and vivid description, the text introduces readers to Ben as he becomes captivated with the assortment and diversity of the stylish beards of his town, including a “bit bedraggled” beard of an old lady but topped by the most significant stubble of his dad. Ben burrows into his investigation by consulting bearded men in the park: “Is it itchy?” “Does it get too warm in the winter?” “Or hot in the summer?” Ben’s fascination meets invention as he determines to acquire one, whether it's through bubble bath, peanut butter, or permanent marker. A kid cannot just wait till he’s 25 or 26, as his father suggests, to become more like his old man. Remarkably, Dad finds a solution just in time to calm his son’s beard fever, trimming his scruff to mirror his son’s total lack of fuzz. Weinberg’s digitally colored watercolor-and-pencil illustrations bristle with energy, depicting Ben’s family as white and locating them in a diverse urban neighborhood (and planting cameo appearances by such bearded lights as Darwin, Malcolm X, Ai Weiwei, and a billy goat gruff, among others).

Comically charming, this one-of-a-kind story celebrates the unique bond that connects father, son, and facial hair. A refreshing cut for young readers. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-17336-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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