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Big Wig: A Little History of Hair Hardcover – August 1, 2011

2.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. Hardcover | Kindle book

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

PW says that Kathleen Krull "knows exactly how to captivate her audience" by combining historical particulars with "amusing anecdotes that put flesh and blood on dry literary bones." Her subjects range from music to science to sports, but her books are consistently smart and incredible fun to read. She lives in San Diego, California.

Peter Malone is the illustrator of HOW MANY MILES TO BETHLEHEM by Kevin Crossley-Holland and many other gorgeous books for children. This is his first opportunity to let his prodigious sense of humor shine through. He lives in Bath, England.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; First Edition edition (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439676401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439676403
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

KATHLEEN KRULL is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young readers, which includes the successful Lives of... series. Kathleen Krull lives in San Diego, CA. Visit her at www.kathleenkrull.com AND http://facebook.com/kathleen.krull

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Format: Hardcover
A non-fiction history of hair, Big Wig has some great points. Kids will enjoy trivia such as the disgusting concoctions people put on their heads to counteract baldness. Malone's illustrations are gorgeous and full of whimsy -- the cover illustration has a wig with a ship on it firing a cannonball at a wig with a birdcage on it.

Unfortunately, it strays from accuracy and at one point it veers close to racism when Krull states that since the males were out hunting, cave women had to evolve blonde hair to hold on to them. The illustration shows a Marilyn Monroe-type dressed in skins, so I'm sure this is tongue-in-cheek. However, it just doesn't work in what is represented as a history book for kids and sends a terrible message.

P.S. Yes, I'm a brunette.
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Format: Hardcover
As I read this book, I confess, there were parts where I wrinkled my nose and went, ewwwh. I found it kind of gross to read about the use of animals droppings in one's hair. I thought to myself, well, it's a good thing we don't do that now. And then the humbling thought came, are we really any different in the amount of time and effort we put in to fixing up or caring for our hair? I would have to say no. All one has to do is walk down the hair care aisle at a store to realize that we are just as fussy about our hair, dying, shampooing, conditioning, highlighting. The products we use may be different, but we are just as vain as those who came before. This book would be fun to share with students. I am always looking for history books to use with my students that demonstrate how interesting history can be. This one makes a good addition to that list. Recommended for students who enjoy learning about some of the odd behaviors of the past.
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Format: Hardcover
Hair--we're all obsessed with it, to one degree or another. But how many of us spend time thinking about the history of hair? Veteran non-fiction writer Kathleen Krull does--her first "book", written when she was ten, was called "Hair-Dos and People I Know," a collection of hair-dos of all kinds.

So it should be no surprise that her newest book looks at the history of hairstyles, and of those individuals who "made history with their hair." In the beginning, she reminds us, "everyone is furry." But over the centuries fur coats grow smaller and smaller, until they're mainly on top for sun protection. Now we've got hair instead of fur. Krull touches briefly on many hair related topics in chronological order, from the evolution of hair color (how and why did a cavewoman wind up with blonde hair?) to Egyptians who shaved their heads to get rid of bugs but then wore wigs to protect their heads from the hot sun, to punk rockers' Mohawks and Dorothy Hamill's wedge cut. Kids will especially relish descriptions of all kinds of disgusting-sounding early hair products. Did you know "goat pee" and "pigeon poop" were early remedies to get rid of baldness? Cleopatra recommended a blend of horse teeth and deer marrow, mixed with toasted mice, to her bald lover, Julius Caesar. Avocado, bear grease, and butter were used in various time periods to make hair soft and shiny. Flour helped powder wigs for 17th and 18th century aristocrats, and Marie Antoinette and her friends sported huge hair-dos adorned with everything from miniature ships to birdcages and toys.

Back matter includes "hair extensions," providing further details about hair in each of the time periods portrayed in the text as well as a bibliography with other sources suitable both for young readers and adults.
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