Ella Kazoo would rather do anything than brush her hair, especially when she could be skipping in the rain and dancing in the sunshine instead. As her hair grows from bad to worse, soon it's out of control! Something must be done to tame her wild locks, and although it's no easy task, Ella and her mother find a solution that makes them both happy. Riotously demonstrating the daily battle of wills that all parents and daughters are familiar with, this pitch-perfect text captures Ella's contagious energy and reminds readers that almost every problem has a solution.
About The Author
Lee Fox grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray. She has been a production assistant for a commercial radio station, a stripper's assistant, a Mormon, a cook in a childcare centre and a store manager on a remote Aboriginal community -- not necessarily in that order. A mother of five children, Lee's writing career began in 2005 with several articles published in The Age. Lee lives in Castlemaine, Victoria, and shares a beautiful garden and rambling farmyard with her partner and her youngest daughter. Cathy Wilcox is a Sydney-based book illustrator and cartoonist, drawing cartoons and illustrations for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, as well as other magazines and books. Two of her popular picture books, A Proper Little Lady, written by Nette Hilton, and Boris and Borsch, written by Robin Klein, were shortlisted by the CBCA, and she has won several Stanley Awards for illustration and been nominated for a Walkley Award for journalism.
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.)
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Ella has snarly, curly hair, which she does not like to have brushed. She throws away her hairbrush, hides in the cupboard, and roars at her mother "like a big growly bear." She whines, moans, and howls. The next hairbrush her mother buys ends up hidden in various places, including under rocks in the garden. But Ella's hair keeps growing, and things get tangled up in it. Her hair grows down her back, along the floor, and through the door. It tangles into everything, and finally even Ella can stand it no more. Off to the hairdresser they go to cut off the tangles and tame the frizz. Now Ella brushes her hair without a fuss. Pleasant drawings and clever rhymes will help to engage any child who has had her scalp hurt when her hair is brushed. The drawings of the hair with all the trash it has picked up along the way will draw young readers. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Books with very limited and inconsequential subjects—such as hair care—run the risk of irrelevance. But this one dances around that particular trap with a bouncy, rhymed text and a plot that, while thin, is entertaining, especially when paired with Plecas's cheery, silly illustrations. Ella Kazoo is first pictured as a stubborn moppet with a white poodle pal and shoulder-length curls. "She hides in the cupboard and under the stair. She roars at her mom like a big growly bear. She whines and she moans and she howls in despair, but Ella Kazoo will not brush her hair." Plecas makes great use of the space on each page to highlight the child's mood, shadowing her in menacing purple when she's roaring, engulfing her in a mustard-yellow cloud during a tantrum, and surrounding her with cheerful pastel settings when she's doing whatever it is she'd rather do than brush her hair. Readers will notice that on every page her hair is longer, more tangled, and more inhabited by sticky things. Ella looks happy enough floating in the bathtub with hair down to her feet, but on the following page, her friends grimace in disgust. It's great fun to see what has to happen before Ella Kazoo decides that something must be done about her unruly mane. Young readers just might get the message that holding their ground in a battle with mom may not always be in their own best interest.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Ella Kazoo will do anything to avoid brushing her hair. She hides, she roars, she howls and moans. Her exasperated mother has given up. Her friends are repelled by the messy locks. Even her little dog gets caught in the tangle. It isn't until her hair grows out of control, collecting household items and trash as it cascades down the stairs, that Ella realizes her hair must be stopped. Calling on a band of astonished hairdressers Ella makes her demands: "Give me hair I won't have to untangle, / hair that won't wander and hair that won't strangle." Fox's meter never falters as she rings the changes on all possible synonyms for "hair." Plecas's colorful and detailed watercolor illustrations deftly capture the feelings of all the characters, from Ella's rebelliousness to her mother's frustration and her friends' revulsion. All along the way, Ella's pooch stands by her, providing a constant in her journey from messy tresses to tame mane. Many families will relate to a stubborn child who refuses to brush her hair; Ella Kazoo offers a humorous take with a fine solution. (Picture book. 3-7)
For Ages: 3 - 6 years old
For Grades: 1 - 2
Number Of Pages: 40
Published: 5th January 2010
Publisher: Walker & Company
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 25.7 x 1.0
Weight (kg): 0.386