23 July 2009

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School
Laurie Halse Anderson (Author)
Ard Hoyt (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (June 23, 2009)
5/5 stars

In The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School , we meet Zoe and her lovely, wild, untamed red locks. Her hair is so voluminous that, as a baby, she needed two strollers; one for herself and one for her hair.

Not only is her hair plentiful and beautiful, it is also talented. Her hair can turn on the tv, pet the cat, pour juice AND play on the computer--all at the same time. . . while Zoe sleeps!

When Zoe started school, her Kindergarten teacher loved Zoe and her tresses, giving chores to the hair while the students napped. Unfortunately, one Zoe's first day of First Grade, her new teacher lets her differing views be known immediately. "School has rules," says Ms. Trisk, "no wild hair in my class." Naturally, this stirs up the rebel in Zoe's hair, and to Zoe's embarrassment, her hair does all sorts of naughty things to annoy Ms. Trisk.

Will Zoe, her hair and Ms. Trisk find a happy medium?

I'll go ahead and tell you: Yes! This book is about compromise and individuality, how both parties can give and take with a satisfying outcome. Though Ms. Trisk is in the wrong, there is never a question about Zoe, or her parents, following Ms. Trisk's instructions. I liked this, in that it isn't showing a rebellion against a teacher, rather a willingness to compromise.

The illustrations are lovely. Zoe's amazing hair is not a vivid, overpowering red, but rather a true to form orangey red that one sees on people daily. His illustrations are also light and engaging, adding more depth to the story.

I think this is a delightful book and could certainly give across a message of cooperation, especially if discussed afterward. For younger children, who might not understand such a message, the amusing story and lively illustrations will make a pleasure to read.


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