Pluck This by Julia Hartling

Pluck This

An A-to-Z Eyebrow Fantasia
illustrated by by
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An alphabet’s worth of eyebrow designs appear in this illustrated humor book.

In this cheeky sendup of the hair that grows above our eyes, Hartling and Markoff  have taken the children’s book format and used it to show the diverse, ridiculous, and fanciful possibilities for the human eyebrow. With one style per letter of the alphabet, represented by a full-color illustration and a brief poem, this debut book explores all manner of speculative oddities that might be created from one’s supercilia. Some of the styles take their inspiration from celebrities (the Frida, the Lena, the Warhol), while others riff on fashion styles (the Bling, the #Dreads), animals (the Ocelot), or movies (the Xanadu). “Z” supplies a bonus: the authors have chosen it to stand for “Zodiac,” and they kindly present a style for each of the 12 signs (and an eyebrow-themed horoscope as well). “U” is, of course, for unibrow, which Hartling and Markoff firmly favor: “Some eyebrows yearn to unite / So why do we keep them apart? / Plucking the space between them / Just breaks their poor little hearts.” The styles are not actually meant to be implemented (many are impossible), though the illustrations, free from the constraints of biology and physics, manage to make readers wish such looks were attainable. Many are too strange to articulate purely in words, as the references—and jokes—are primarily visual. This work is not for children (“V” is for “Vasectomy”) but should delight most cosmetic-minded adults. The concepts are clever, and the illustrations are particularly stellar, making the book worth a perusal. Not as successful are the accompanying verses, which play fast and loose with both meter and rhyme. Just like a kempt brow, a tight poem leaves a greater impression than a messy one. Still, this volume provides many captivating styles to contemplate. Like the eyebrows they celebrate, Hartling and Markoff have created a work of wondrous and weird self-expression.

An amusing and beautifully designed catalog that delivers facetious eyebrow suggestions.

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016


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