________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 16 . . . . April 13, 2001

cover That Curly-Haired Girl.

Elise Feltrin. Illustrated by Aries Cheung.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2000.
32 pp., pbk, $10.95.
ISBN 1-894222-14-8.

Kindergarten - grade 3 / Ages 5 - 8.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4


Andrea had curly hair.
It was curly on the top. It was curly on the sides.
It was curly down her back all the way to her bum.
It was curly when it was wet.
It was curly when it was dry.
And Andrea hated it.
image Many readers may be able to relate to Andrea's dilemma. Growing up, I often heard Andrea's least favourite rhyme: "There was a little girl, who had a little curl. Right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good. And when she was bad, she was horrid." Poor Andrea hated the way her long curly hair called attention to her. Andrea couldn't decide what was worse: all the comments or the cutesy names complete strangers had for her. Finally, Andrea pleads with her mother to do something about her unruly curls. Even though her mother explains that it's completely natural for people to want what they don't have, Andrea still wants to get rid of her curls. After combing and blow drying, Andrea is delighted with her straight as uncooked spaghetti hair. People don't even recognize Andrea with her new look. However, Andrea's new look quickly disappears when she is caught in a rain shower. Andrea's mother gives her two choices: to accept her hair the way it is, or do what she did to get rid of her curls. I must admit Andrea's choice devastated me a bit. I'm sure children will enjoy the ending of this story. In the end, Andrea mails her curls to her grandmother who always wished she had Andrea's curls.

      Author Elise Feltrin tells a cute story that many children will enjoy. I plan to use this book with my "Families" Storytime. This story would make a fine choice for reading aloud or independent readers. Many of us, young and old, will empathize with Andrea's dilemma. Though I've never wanted short hair, I have always wished my dark, thick, wavy, waist long hair was blond, fine, and stick straight. It's true--we always wish for what we don't have. Aries Cheung has done a fine job depicting Andrea's dilemma in bright watercolour illustrations. The hair-do Andrea is left with at the end of the story seems a bit extreme. But then again, lots of little girls like short hair!


Catherine Hoyt is the Curator of the Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364