This Monster Needs a Haircut

illus. by author. 32p. CIP. Dial. 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3733-4. LC 2011029972.
PreS-Gr 1—Stewart is a grape-colored monster shaped like a humanoid robot. He needs a dentist and, yes, a haircut. His olive-green locks writhe away from his square head, and, in the course of the story, get longer, more tangly, and, finally, occupied. A spider is keeping a toothbrush, lollipop, ipod, etc., company. But does Stewart listen to his friend Feliz or to the urgings of his parents to get a haircut? He does not. (At least, not until-well, let's just say there's a fine line between scary hair and funny hair.) Barton's ink-and-Photoshop pictures are as wild and disorderly as the protagonist's locks. They're more exuberant than organized, and a little effort will be needed to follow the story. More significant is its length, which exceeds the attention span of the book's likely audience. While excellent haircut-themed books abound, such as Don Freeman's Mop Top (Viking, 1955), Elivia Savadier's No Haircut Today! (Roaring Brook, 2005), and Matthew McElligott's Even Monsters Need Haircuts (Walker, 2010), the silly illustrations might catch some young readers' attention.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Green-haired monster Stewart resists getting a haircut--"where would we keep toys and treats for after school?"--until he realizes that his hair is preventing him from scaring other monsters. The promising premise is hindered by too many would-be hip/cute asides ("Whoa, dude"; "Not okay") and by the underdeveloped art set against white backgrounds, suggesting not minimalism but incompleteness.

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