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BIG WIG by Jonathan Hillman


by Jonathan Hillman ; illustrated by Levi Hastings

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5344-8771-0
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

A wig feels insignificant until it recalls its purpose.

Wig, a bright pink hair covering styled in a Brigitte Bardot–inspired bouffant, is the prized possession of a young boy named B.B. Bedazzle, who is participating in a drag contest called the Big Wig Ball. On the way to the event, Wig attracts attention and feels larger-than-life on B.B.’s head but upon arriving at the ball, suffers a crisis of confidence. Everywhere she looks, there are wigs that are even taller and showier than she is. Feeling intimidated, Wig abandons B.B. and flies through the air, zooming among the heads of audience members. With each head she lands on, Wig’s hairstyle changes, and the person is magically transformed into a fearless, glamorous drag queen. By instilling confidence in others, Wig regains her own. Recalling that she has left B.B.’s head bare, “Wig frizzes and fizzles and splits her ends, flying home FAST to find her friend” as the contest begins. Readers will smile at the satisfying ending. Why Wig feels more confident on heads other than B.B’s. and how B.B. feels after being temporarily abandoned by Wig are important questions left noticeably unaddressed. While clearly attempting to provide lighthearted encouragement for children who might feel inadequate, the choice of a wig—rather than a drag queen or queer child—as the entry point for empathy and self-reflection leaves much to be desired. Most characters have pale skin, and a few have textured hair and brown skin that cue them as Black. B.B. and B.B.’s parents are White.

Let this one sashay away from your shelves.

(Picture book. 3-6)