Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BIPPITY BOP BARBERSHOP by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

BIPPITY BOP BARBERSHOP

By Natasha Anastasia Tarpley (Author) , E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-52284-8
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Tarpley and Lewis return to the theme of their first collaboration: I Love My Hair (1997). In this case, it is the occasion of a young man’s first official haircut. Tarpley is very sharp in catching the moods and rituals of the barbershop. Like the best of such places, this shop has a group of regulars, warm in each other’s company, cajoling, exuding camaraderie. Miles, the first-timer, an African-American boy, is in the company of his father, who is one of the regulars. Tarpley works the rite-of-passage angle, but not overly; she understands that the atmospherics are what count: “Jazz music, loud voices, and laughter blend with the buzzzzzzz of clippers and the soft sweesh-sweesh whisper of scissors.” All the gents have advised Miles to “be brave,” which of course gives him a mild case of the shim-shams when the clippers touch the back of his neck for the first time. But his dad is there to offer some soothing advice and the cut proceeds. Miles exits to a round of high-fives and those cherished words from the barber: “See you next time.” There aren’t many of these safe harbors left out there in the everyday world, and Tarpley celebrates well their survival. And their steadiness and warmth are equally applauded in Lewis’s sure-handed watercolors—Miles is totally adorable—inviting enough to make readers want to go out and get a trim. (Picture book. 4-8)