Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School

Laurie Halse Anderson
Illustrator:  Ard Hoyt 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-0689858093

Zoe Fleefenbacker has extraordinary hair. It is bright red in color and there is so much of it that when she was little, Zoe’s parents have to buy two strollers. One for Zoe and one for her hair. Zoe’s hair is “wild and beautiful.” It has a mind of its own, and when Zoe is in kindergarten, her teacher, Mrs. Broghag is quite happy to let Zoe’s hair help out in the classroom.

Then Zoe goes to first grade, the first grade teacher, Ms. Trisk, strongly believes in rules. She will not allow “wild hair” to run rampant in her class. Ms. Trisk puts Zoe in time out, and then she tries to control Zoe’s hair, which is not at all a good idea because Zoe’s hair does not like to be controlled.

Ms. Trisk insists on a meeting between herself, the principal, Zoe’s parents, and Zoe. The adults decide that Zoe’s hair has to be “tamed. The problem is that no one bothers to ask Zoe her opinion.

All too often adults don’t listen to their children. They are far too busy inflicting rules on them to even consider that children might have something to say that is worth hearing. This book shows to great effect that the best scenario is when adults and children work together. With humor and glorious illustrations that are full of “wild and beautiful” red hair, the author and illustrator give young readers a tale that is both amusing and memorable.