To avoid brushing her hair, Ella Kazoo hides from her mom and stashes the brush in strange places. The longer her hair grows, the fancier the language used to describe it—locks, mane, mop, curls, frizz, tresses—and the more upset her mother becomes. As Ella sleeps, the tangled hair creeps from her bed into the hall, enveloping a fork, socks, clothes, and even the dog. When she awakens, Ella is shocked and eager to get it lopped off, much to her mother's delight. Fox wrote this cautionary story because her own child refused to brush her hair, and it may appeal to parents who face a similar problem. The clever rhymes and rhythmic cadence of the verses are fun to read aloud, although a few have clunky beats. The zany cartoon illustrations, which are initially small on the page but swell in size as Ella's hair grows, and the mountains of hair will draw a disgusted but amused response from young readers. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Ella is a rebel with a single cause: "She puts on a dress with some earrings and pearls,/ and lipstick and perfume like most other girls,/ but Ella Kazoo will not brush her curls!" A frazzled appearance is the least of Ella's problems, however: as her locks grow, they become an enormous, ivy-like tangle that envelops everything in its wake. Overall, Plecas's (Baby Danced the Polka) drawings feel a little too winsome for debut author Fox's bouncy rhymes—the pictures seem to slow the beat down rather than give it momentum. But the illustrator gets good comic mileage out of turning Ella's hair into a force of nature, and, while taking a bath, Ella seems to channel John Everett Millais's Ophelia. Ella's hair, at this point, stretches down a stairwell and across a room, entangling household objects, as well as her mother. To end the madness, Ella finally demands a close-cropped haircut with a single curl—a choice that may please beleaguered mothers in the same position as Ella's mom, but also one with which few young female readers are likely to identify. Ages 3–6. (Jan.)
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