Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

Bedhead’ is no sleeper; book reflects children’s everyday world

October 1, 2000


Everybody's been in young Oliver's shoes, or hat, as the case may be.

Author Margie Palatini and artist Jack E. Davis have coiffed "Bedhead," a wonderful tale that is sure to make every youngster feel a little better about himself when picture day rolls around.

At issue is the unruly hair of Oliver. His tangle of reddish locks is determined to curl to new heights, as well as mat into something that looks strangely like a cat's fur ball.

Though the family rallies around in an effort to help Oliver, nothing seems to be able to tame his twirling tresses. Water? Won't work. Mousse? Nope. A hairbrush? Not gonna do it.

Oliver's hair has taken on a life of its own, and it isn't going to be kept down even if Vidal Sassoon, himself, comes to Oliver's home and squeezes a tube of mega-max restricting superhold control gel on his head.

"Bedhead," for readers ages 4 to 8, is written in a surprisingly hep tone, using phra-sing that children today are likely to hear and perhaps even toss toward their unknowing parents. That works to make "Bedhead" a smart picture book that connects children with the world they experience.

Davis' art also stands apart. His work has this serendipity-do quality to it. The illustrations are rich with color and dimension, and the pages have loads of visual treats in each lush painting.

I won't split hairs, here. "Bedhead" (Simon & Schuster, $16) is good for a developing brain.

The quote at the beginning let's readers know what to expect.

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, American historian

Now you know, too, just what you'll learn in "Lives of Extraordinary Women Rulers, Rebels and What the Neighbors Thought" by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt.

The 95-page book contains 20 short biographies of wo-men who altered the course of history or were remembered over the eons for their unorthodox behavior.

This is the sixth book in the series by Krull and Hewitt. Previous works have focused on presidents, athletes, writers, musicians and artists.

Some of the notable women profiled in the new book include Cleopatra, Eleanor Roosevelt, Catherine the Great, Harriet Tubman, Indira Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi. The nature of these carefully worded profiles may not be suitable for all households. These are stories of adult women who may have led soap-opera lives and who often died under unusual circumstances. The stories aren't for young girls.

Instead "Lives of Extraordinary Women" is well-suited for tweens and even teens who can learn of the sacrifices made by their foremothers and the impact their choices had on the world today.

"Lives of Extraordinary Women" (Harcourt, $20) offers inspiration and insight into the role of women throughout time.

One can almost feel the suspense build in the heavy-duty board book "Little Suddenly" by Colin McNaughton.

This Preston Pig book for readers age 6 months to 3 years is a fun, quick read that shares a Hitchcock-like thriller with the youngest of readers, but without any horror or gore that the movie master might have created.

Young Preston Pig is coming home from school, and his moves are being shadowed by the large, toothy Mr. Wolf. Don't worry, though. Preston Pig prevails in this proper piece of moppet prose.

"Little Suddenly" (Red Wagon Books, $5.95) is a fun little book that might just catch you by surprise.

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