In Hodges’ quirky debut children’s book, a girl and her animated head of hair battle for the spotlight on picture day.
Young Ange-Marie has a secret that makes her unique among other children: Her coiffure has a mind of its own. The great big ball of hair on Ange-Marie’s head, affectionately referred to by Ange-Marie as “the Poof,” has mischievous ideas and energy. The Poof can change shapes, creating sculptures on Ange-Marie’s head—a big cloud, a bird, a flower, a question mark. The Poof is even capable of audibly communicating with Ange-Marie. The two struggle at times with their opposite agendas: When Ange-Marie wants to brush her teeth, the Poof wants to play. When Ange wants to eat breakfast, the Poof wants to fly up to the ceiling. Gentry’s colorful, popping images playfully convey the characters’ disputes, as bright shades of fuchsia and purple create a vibrant background. When it comes time for picture day at school, Ange-Marie asserts that she will be the one in charge of how she and the Poof are portrayed. Not everyone knows about her magical hair’s mind of its own, she says, so it’s best that the hair just be hair. However, as usual, the Poof has ideas of its own, and their conflicting plans become a playful battle for artistic control in the school portrait. Hodge’s simple sentence structure makes this an accessible story for beginning readers. The short, easy-to-follow story could also be read aloud by caregivers or teachers to younger children. There is no clear, overarching moral, though children may be inspired by Ange-Marie’s embracing her individuality, as she tames her quirky side while staying true to herself. In such a whimsical, light story, young children are likely to be amused by the goofiness of hair that lives its own life.
A silly, imaginative story about individuality, best enjoyed by beginning readers.