Monday, February 22, 2010
Review #61: Crazy Hair
Dad: What book are we reading?
Gracie (age 9): "Crazy Hair."
Dad: And the cover says "From the award-winning creators of 'The Wolves in the Walls.' "
Lily (age 7): Wait. The "Wolves in the Walls" guys made this? Oh my goodness!!
Dad: You like that one, eh? So what are your impressions of "Crazy Hair"?
Lily: It's crazy.
Isaac (age 11): Crazy.
Gracie: (whispering) Dad, can you stop the recorder...
Dad: Huh? Why?
Gracie: (still whispering) I can't say...
Dad: Can't say what?
Gracie: The book freaks me out a little bit. But I don't want to say that, because it might hurt the author's feelings...
Dad: I am willing to bet that Neil Gaiman can take it.
Gracie: This book freaks me out. It gives me goosebumps.
Dad: What part of it?
Isaac: I like it!
Dad: You must have never read "Wolves in the Walls" yet.
Gracie: Oh, yes I did. It was awesome.
Dad: That one didn't bother you... but this one does??? I think "Wolves in the Walls" is the scariest children's book on the planet!
Isaac: It is probably the scariest children's book on the planet... but it's cool!
Dad: And Gracie, "Crazy Hair" is the one that freaks you out?
Gracie: It's just kind of creepy...
Dad: What -- his hair was creepy, or the book was creepy?
Gracie: The book.
Dad: Which part?
Gracie: It was freaky all along, but then at the end it got really creepy.
Dad: How about you, Lily? Did it freak you out? You're the youngest one here...
Gracie: That doesn't count! She's the toughest, bravest one in the whole family!
Lily: I thought it was cool. But it does have a scary tiger with red eyes.
Dad: Well, before we go any farther, how about you guys give us a recap of the story...
Isaac: It's about this girl...
Isaac: ...she's walking by, and she sees a guy who has this crazy, really long, extremely long, crazy hair. And he tells her all about this stuff living in his hair.
Gracie: That's just -- Okay, that's just wrong. He's got people dancing in his hair. And he doesn't care?
Dad: I would love to have people singing and dancing on my head.
Isaac: You would?
Dad: Sure. Then you'd always have music with you -- you wouldn't have to have an ipod.
Isaac: That's true.
Gracie: There are parrots, and pirates, and acrobats living in his hair. And octopuses.
Isaac: And hot air balloons and lions.
Lily: I bet he even has an elephant in his hair.
Isaac: I bet there were wolves in his hair-walls.
Dad: He probably has a little of everything.
Gracie: Does he have a pool? And a jacuzzi? Does he have a roller coaster?
Isaac: Then Bonnie tries to comb the guy's hair, but a big fist of hair comes out and grabs her and pulls her into the hair.
Lily: How did Bonnie all of a sudden shrink small enough to get in there?
Dad: It's crazy. The hair isn't logical. But she doesn't really mind it. She has adventures in there.
Isaac: She does stuff like teaching the lions to rhyme. Digging for buried treasure. Teaching parrots naughty words.
Gracie: Oh, that's bad.
Isaac: I think these guys should keep making more books. Just don't let Gracie see them.
Gracie: I like "Wolves in the Walls" and "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish."
Dad: So what about Rapunzel? She had crazy hair.
Gracie: Rapunzel's hair does not have lions, circus people, and parrots that say naughty words in it.
Dad: That's true. But Gracie, there's gold coins in his hair! Treasure!
Gracie: How would the people in his hair use it? There's nothing to buy in there.
Dad: Carousel rides.
Gracie: You can get those for free. Money wouldn't matter... unless he's got a Walmart in his hair.
Dad: Maybe he does. He's got everything else.
Isaac: It is kind of freaky hair.
Dad: Now, is it the poem that freaks you out, or is it the pictures?
Gracie: If you had illustrated it, you would have done it in bright colored pencils. This guy does it in weird chunky thingies.
Dad: The poem is just as strange as anything Dr. Seuss wrote. But Dr. Seuss pictures are silly. If someone had illustrated this with silly pictures, would it still have freaked you out?
Gracie: No, not really.
Dad: Aha! So maybe it's not so much the words, but the pictures? Maybe it's not Neil Gaiman. Maybe it's Dave McKean who is freaky...
Isaac: Where do you think the illustrator got all this hair?
Dad: Do you think he used real hair in the illustrations?
Isaac: I think so.
Dad: I'm wondering if it's computer hair.
Gracie: I'm just still wondering how that guy's hair got so long.
Dad: Tell me about these illustrations.
Lily: Do you want to know my favorite picture? It's the one with the little, cute bear in the hair... the bear with the comb. Cute.
Dad: So not all the pictures are "freaky."
Gracie: In some parts it looks like the artist cut things out. In some parts it looks like he drew them on the computer. And some parts it looks like paint.
Dad: Do you know what that's called?
Dad: I was going to say "Mixed Media." That means it's not just one material. He probably mixed lots of things together to make the pictures.
Isaac: Yeah... that hair looks digital. Dad, I think you are right.
Dad: So you've seen their three books... "Wolves," "Goldfish," and "Crazy Hair." Is there anything those three books have in common?
Isaac: They are all kind of...
Isaac: Strange. Different. Crazy. Good crazy.
Gracie: Are you sure no one will be offended?
Dad: What do you think... Is it okay for people to have differing opinions? Or does everyone have to like the same things?
Gracie: Well, I like chocolate, and Andrea says she doesn't like it. Chocolate is one of my favorite things!
Dad: And besides... Isaac, Lily, and I all like this book. Three against one.
Dad: People can have different tastes. We can still all get along!
Gracie: Not all books have to be sweet and cuddly.
Isaac: There's a place for weird books. Weird books are cool books. I like these books.
Author: Neil Gaiman
(see Neil Gaiman read Crazy Hair)
Illustrator: Dave McKean
Published, 2009: Harper Collins
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