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The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair: Book Review

Written By | Nov 4, 2013

Silver Spring, Md, November 4, 2014 – “There once was a girl who wouldn’t brush her hair.” The unnamed girl has long wavy hair that she let go wild. While she washed her hair, she refused to brush it, claiming “It’s just my way.” One night she discovered a mouse had decided to make her mass of hair his home.

The new resident did not bother her, and she greeted the mouse and refused to let the grown-ups take him away when they discovered the furry little visitor on her head.  By the next morning, a second had mouse moved in, and a few more came shortly after.  She went about her day, happy to have new friends. She even went to school with the mice in her hair. Soon, mice were flocking to her hair because word had gotten out that her hair was a very nice home for them.

Photo by Robynlou Kavanagh.

The school children were fascinated, not repulsed, by the colony in the girl’s hair. Bust soon the first problem arose. The mice ate her lunch, leaving her hungry. Then she stopped being able to wash her hair because the mice were afraid of drowning. Because of not bathing, the girl started to smell, so no one wanted to be around her.  The girl started having trouble sleeping because the mice talked all night. The final straw was when her teacher told her she could no longer bring her favorite doll to school because each child was only allowed one friend at naptime and she had 100 mice in her hair.

That night, the girl told the mice they would have to go. After the girl explained the troubles she was having, the mice agreed to leave. Once all her furry friends had departed she took a long bath and brushed her hair.

There are many a parent who have had battles with their daughters over brushing their hair, and this book comes as a cautionary tale for those girls who refuse to detangle their locks. Aside from turning this common problem into a fable, the story is also fun and whimsical. It allows the little girl to learn from her experiences and come to the decision to get rid of the mice and start taking care of her hair on her own. This makes the girl’s plight and ultimate decision more appealing to young children who can all too often rebel against their parents who try to force decisions on them. By giving children a relatable character who comes to the realization that her parents were right all along, it allows children to feel like they are taking advice from a friend rather than the orders of a parent.

Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.

Author Kate Bernheimer specializes in fairytales and fables. She has written several books, including three children’s books. Her children’s book The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum was named a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair is the latest work by Illustrator Jake Parker. He also created the artwork for the New York Times bestselling picture book The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. Aside from the nine books he has illustrated, he has also provided artwork for famous children films such as  Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Rio.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair (ISBN: 978-0375-86878-8) by Kate Bernheimer and illustrated by Jake Parker was published by Random House Children’s Book on September 10, 2013. It is available as a hardcover or a picture book.

Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer, mother and reader. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Find her on Twitter @BrighidMoret, or follow @BigReadsLittleH for the latest children's book reviews.