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Crazy Hair.

Crazy Hair

Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Dave McKean

Bloomsbury Children's Books 2009

ISBN 978 07475 95267

Hardback 11.99 [pounds sterling]


This is another feast from Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. The text is a narrative poem fantastically illustrated by McKean, whose work I first discovered in The Savage by David Almond. The story is based on the simple premise of combing unruly hair, not knowing what might be lurking in there--a concept most mothers will understand and will delight children of all ages. Each double page spread carries a 'verse' ending with 'crazy hair', zooming in on the 'inhabitants' and their activities and antics, resist joining in if you can. When reading, I was back lying on the bed with my own children when they were young.

I really like the way the texts meanders across some pages, changing font and size as appropriate to the text and illustrations, almost like the way your hair might move given external conditions. Could be a high wind; water in a still pond or pounding from the showerhead. The word 'rumbling' has a 'shake' to it, as if deep in the earth some enormous creature were stirring from a sleep lasting millennia!

Unlike The Savage, where McKean chose a restricted palette, the colour scheme is vibrant and ever changing to reflect the text. There is a touch of surrealism in both text and image, which will entrance children, but what intrigues me is the illustration of hair magnified--how did he do that? The title page looks like the hairdresser's floor when the cutting is done.

I don't know how yet, (poetry? imaginary worlds?) but I am determined to use this text in class, those 'off-the-wall' thinkers may start a journey here.

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Author:Hill, Maria
Publication:NATE Classroom
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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