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SCRITCH SCRATCH by Miriam Moss

SCRITCH SCRATCH

By Miriam Moss (Author) , Delphine Durand (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-439-36835-9
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Making a brave effort to pair hilarity with head lice, Moss and Durand (The Snoops, 1998) follow a tiny six-legger “no bigger than a freckle,” as she (we know because she sports a pink bow) drops into a teacher’s frizzy head and proceeds to sing a happy tune—“Oh . . . no one knows from where I came, / A nit, a nibbler with no name . . . ”—as she deposits eggs on every hair. Soon the teacher is scratching; shortly thereafter, so is the entire class. Durand’s cartoon illustrations are filled with small children and smaller insects (each with distinct personalities) going about their business with similar energy and good cheer. First the children are treated, but the plague isn’t halted until children and teacher both are dosed with “special conditioner,” and even then, sharp-eyed viewers may spot the tiny survivor peeking from a corner of the final spread. Parents may not find this all that amusing—but it is a painless way to bring up an unpleasant topic, and the accurate representation of how easily nits and lice spread will help children (and adults) understand the necessity of vigilance. (Picture book. 5-8)