HEXED HAIR – Reality Skimming press (2014) – (Cdn – Burnaby, B.C.) – Find it here
By Jennifer Lott – (Cdn – New Westminster, B.C.)
Note: being a young children’s book (as opposed to a YA novel), this doesn’t fit any Aurora category. Nevertheless it is worth noting because it is Canadian and genre.
Premise: Two eight-year-old sisters lose their hair. They blame their older sister, whom they know to be a witch. They steal a spell from her computer to set things right. Doesn’t work. The situation gets out of hand. Who knew hair could be so powerful?
I am possibly the last person on Earth to judge a children’s book aimed at young girls. But I do have an older brother I grew up with, and the attitudes and frustrations of these young girls are reassuringly familiar, as are their psychological attempts to manipulate each other and the rest of the family. I think anyone who has any memories at all of their childhood can easily identify with these mischievous characters. Very true to life, and consequently a very accessible tale.
There’s a fair amount of situational humour which enhances the escalating “problem,” and some subtle touches like the mother’s habit of hiding under table to get some quiet reading done (which leads one to suspect the little girl she once was still dwells somewhere within her adult form). Doriano Strologo contributes about 20 illustrations scattered unobtrusively throughout the book which are relatively simple yet capture the moment perfectly. They feel like the sort of influential illustrations that linger in one’s memory even as an adult.
Rating: Great fun. To me the delightful combination of the illustrations and the prose in this children’s book are the sort of childhood experience never to be fully forgotten, one eagerly sought after in one’s old age as a rejuvenating bit of nostalgia. I think it is quite good.
Mind you, if I had written it I would probably have added a portal to the netherworld, possibly a few demons, an alien invasion, and maybe an earthquake, but that’s just me. Probably just as well I don’t write children’s books.