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BIG WIG by Kathleen Krull


A Little History of Hair

by Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Peter Malone

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-439-67640-3
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

This “little history of hair” entertains largely with hair-brained ideas about how humans tame their tresses.

From the grooming habits of our ape ancestors to current-day hair care, the anecdotal format moves chronologically through time. In between, readers learn various ways of keeping locks free of bugs, soft and styled in the current fashion. How about a bird cage on your head? Maybe lilac dye is more your style? Despite many tries (including pigeon poop and camel pee), no one seems to have come up with the perfect cure for baldness. From the beehive to the moptop to the comeback of the Mohawk, it appears that history and hair weave together even as fashions pervade popular culture. Gouache illustrations border on the surreal, often highlighting the comedy that is described in the text. The paintings also accurately display the time periods, settings and techniques for each vignette. Cleverly named “Hair Extensions” do exactly that, extend each snippet with just a little more story. The author’s note explains a lifelong fascination with hair; Krull produced her first book about hairdos at age 10. Includes a list of sources that note those titles especially for young readers and those best for picture research.

This braiding of history, humor and hair positively poufs. (Informational picture book. 8-12)