Review Blog

Oct 16 2013

Bella's bad hair day by Stephen Michael King

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN: 9781743313619.
Recommended. Stephen Michael King is well known for his illustrations and Bella is a welcome addition to his list of interesting characters.
The creative hair styles featured on the end papers give us a clue that Bella is keen on having her hair styled. Before the title page we are shown Bella sleeping and almost forewarned that the peace will be broken when she wakes up.
We have all experienced a bad hair day but Bella is particularly frustrated as her distracted parents ignore her cries for help in taming her wild hair. Mum is busy painting and distracted by a family of guinea pigs whilst Dad is totally engrossed in playing Beethoven on his piano. Bella tries desperately to think of a way to tame her hair, from superheroes whisking her away to a variety of hats to hide the mess. At last Mum attends to the problem and all is well.
The extensive uses of alliteration, as her 'horrible horrendous hair day' proceeds until 'a breathtakingly beautiful bouffant' is created, adds to the joy of the text, and are a lesson in themselves for the creative teacher or parent. The colourful and interesting illustrations give more information to the reader enabling them to experience her emotions
If Lee Fox's Ella Kazoo is anti brushing, Bella is the pinup girl for having beautifully styled hair for a perfect day, though I am sure we have wished that some bad hair styles are not 'nouveau trendo'.
Sue Keane

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