Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review #19: THE HAIR OF ZOE FLEEFENBACHER GOES TO SCHOOL by Laurie Halse Anderson; Illustrated by Ard Hoyt

illustrated by Ard Hoyt

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub. Date: June 2009
Sales Rank: 12,573
Age Range: 6 to 10

Description (from the Publisher):
Mom and Dad Fleefenbacher think their daughter Zoe's hair is wild and beautiful. And for her kindergarten teacher, Zoe's vivacious tresses were a comfort. But Zoe's about to start first grade, and her new teacher doesn't fool around....

"School has rules," she says. "No wild hair in my class!"

So what are Zoe and her free-spirited hair going to do now?

With exuberance and humor to spare, Laurie Halse Anderson and Ard Hoyt, the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, tease up a terrific tale of hairy hijinks, classroom chaos, and the importance of teachers and students learning to work together.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

THE HAIR OF ZOE FLEEFENBACHER GOES TO SCHOOL is one of the silliest books I've ever read. Just figuring out how to pronounce her name brought out the giggles at my house. Zoe's got a head of hair to rival some the most famous tresses in fiction.  Rapunzel's hair was only good for visitors' climbing in and out of her tower home.  Lady Godiva's served as a stand-in for her gowns.  Zoe's multi-talented hair is industrious and adventuresome - it brushes Zoe's teeth and wrestles the lid off the cookie jar! In kindergarten, it soothes and cuddles the children at naptime. But when Zoe and her happy red hair enter first grade, her no-nonsense teacher considers the independent locks to be more troublesome than helpful.  She tries to put a lid on the shenanigans - literally. Of course, the results are explosive (literally), but everyone ends up learning a lesson in tolerance and cooperation.

I thought the first grade teacher was unrealistically severe and her redemption too complete, but this little parable is painted with quite broad strokes all around. It's also very interesting to experience this other side of the author, Laurie Halse Anderson, who is more widely known for her hard-hitting young adult novels.  The illustrations by Ard Hoyt are wonderfully colorful, detailed, and comic. I was not familiar with his work before I read Zoe's story, but now I'll be on the look out for his other books.

This is a fun book for anyone with little ones just starting school.  There's already a waiting list for it at our local library!

Click here to visit the author's website.

About the creators (from the publisher):

Laurie Halse Anderson grew up in Syracuse, New York, and now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. Her first novel, Speak, a Printz Honor and National Book Award finalist, is available on audio from Listening Library.

Ard Hoyt has illustrated a number of books, including Utterly Otterly Day, One-Dog Canoe, Saying Goodbye to Lulu, When the Cows Got Loose, and the New York Times bestseller I'm a Manatee by John Lithgow. Ard lives in Bentonville, Arkansas.

My review copy was borrowed from
the Portsmouth Free Public Library.


Lisa said...

I had not heard about this book. Now I know why Laurie changed her pic on her twitter page!

Booklogged said...

Sounds delightful! My granddaughter just started kindergarten and has beautiful red hair. She would love this book for Christmas, I bet.

Anonymous said...

I've always had wild hair. Sounds like a fun read!

Zibilee said...

This looks like an adorable book! Too bad my kids are a bit too old for it. Maybe I can suggest it to a friend of mine that has two younger boys, they would probably get a real kick out of the story.

gaby317 said...

This sounds so good! Thanks for the review!