Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book two hundred and fourteen

We grownups sometimes convince ourselves that we know all the answers because we know the rules. Not surprisingly it often turns out that we don't know all that much after all. Not even close. When we start learning how to listen and how to observe (rather than spouting silly rules) we get along a lot better with everyone, especially children.

In today's book you will meet an exceptionally silly adult who does not know how to listen at all. What a mess she makes of things. 

Laurie Halse Anderson
Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2009, 978-0-689-85809-3
   Zoe Fleefenbacker has extraordinary hair. It is bright red in color and there is so much of it that when she was little, Zoe’s parents have to buy two strollers. One for Zoe and one for her hair. Zoe’s hair is “wild and beautiful.” It has a mind of its own, and when Zoe is in kindergarten, her teacher, Mrs. Broghag is quite happy to let Zoe’s hair help out in the classroom.
   Then Zoe goes to first grade, the first grade teacher, Ms. Trisk, strongly believes in rules. She will not allow “wild hair” to run rampant in her class. Ms. Trisk puts Zoe in time out, and then she tries to control Zoe’s hair, which is not at all a good idea because Zoe’s hair does not like to be controlled.
   Ms. Trisk insists on a meeting between herself, the principal, Zoe’s parents, and Zoe. The adults decide that Zoe’s hair has to be “tamed. The problem is that no one bothers to ask Zoe her opinion.
   All too often adults don’t listen to their children. They are far too busy inflicting rules on them to even consider that children might have something to say that is worth hearing. This book shows to great effect that the best scenario is when adults and children work together. With humor and glorious illustrations that are full of “wild and beautiful” red hair, the author and illustrator give young readers a tale that is both amusing and memorable. 

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