Book of the Week: Bugs in My Hair

Bugs in My Hair by David Shannon (Received Advanced Copy from Publisher at BEA 2013)

Published: 2013 by The Blue Sky Press

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

This book took me by surprise, it wasn’t what I expected (and I mean that in a good way).

So what surprised me about this book: it was about head lice – a subject you don’t see often in children’s picture books.

It’s an important subject, a serious one and author/illustrator David Shannon handles it with a mix of seriousness and humor.

Lice are very tiny bugs that latch on to one’s strands of hair and lay eggs.

They make your head itch like CRAZY!

I love how this book is a learning lesson, there are facts and little tidbits of knowledge hidden on each page. For example, readers will learn that lice eggs are called nits, and part of the treatment is picking those nits. Have you put two and two together yet: that’s where we get the term nitpicker!

The lice made the main characters so much he thought they were partying up there in his massive reddish/orange curls.

They were having a concert: lice-a-palooza!

And in the image of lice – a – palooza they are dancing, singing, and playing the banjo.

It actually makes them look … cute (almost, I’m not a bug lover).

Instead of partying, they are feasting. On blood. The main characters blood. They’re like teeny tiny vampires.

And author/illustrator drives that point home, by illustrating lice in a Dracula costume.

The book also discusses  the feelings that come with having head lice: shame, humiliation, and embarrassment.

But young readers it’s important to remember that it may be embarrassing and humiliating, but a lot of other kids have head lice and they feel the same way. It’s also important to remember that head lice is curable.

Louse is where we get the word lousy.

Lice, when latched onto one’s hair often feel as if they are on top of the world.

Where to dead lice come from? From anywhere. As author/illustrator Shannon points out, it can come from a hug, a hat, a sofa, at school, or at the movies. But it can never, ever come from your dog. Dogs do not get lice.

Sometimes, even those who don’t have lice will get itchy. It’s sympathy scratching.

But really the problem isn’t on their head, it’s really in their head.

There are a lot of ways to “cure” lice, some work and some do not.

But the lice do need to be cured before they take over the world. Bug-zilla style.

So how do you cure them: by using stinky stuff that will make them want to leave your head, by combing your hair with a nit comb to pick out the lice eggs, and by going to the doctor.

But even though you take all the right steps to get rid of them, and all the right precautions to stop them from coming back, sometimes they do. Come back that is. And those steps and precautions will have to be repeated to get rid of them permanently.

Even though I agree fully with the main character, that bugs are “ick” I enjoyed this book. I learned a lot without feeling like I was learning. This book is far from boring.

I love Shannon’s illustrations. Through them he makes a scary subject not so scary.

His writing is also the driving force of the book. I love how Shannon doesn’t overwrite – he says what he has to without too many unnecessary words getting in the way.

This is a great read for the younger, school aged audience.

After reading on book by David Shannon, I am always left feeling like I want to read all of David Shannon’s books.

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