Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SOPHIE'S LOVELY LOCKS by Erica Pelton Villnare

Villnare, Erica Pelton. Sophie’s Lovely Locks. New York: Marshall Cavendish. ISBN # 0761458204. Ages 5 -8.

Sophie is a very pretty little girl with long, flowing blonde hair, the kind of hair that other little girls might envy. (Full disclosure: as a redhead with frizzy-crazy curls, I desperately wanted long, sleek blonde hair as a kid, so I might be projecting a little on what other kids want.) Sophie prances around in sweet illustrations with her hair in different styles, telling us how much she loves her long hair. But pretty soon, Sophie’s hair is causing her trouble – it’s getting snarled and caught in her brush, and she struggles to keep it out of her face. Soon enough, she realizes the best option is to cut her hair.

At first I thought this was going to be a standard book with a simple lesson about not being vain, but it takes a more meaningful turn. After Sophie gets her hair cut, she decides to donate her hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for young cancer patients. Sophie muses that “two girls with short hair are better than one with none.” The last page of the book is a listing of resources for hair donations and an explanation of what the organizations do. What started as a book about a girl with pretty hair turned into a guide for giving to others.

I love that this book makes apparent that there is a wonderful thing girls (and women and men) can do with their hair when it’s cut. I didn’t know what Locks of Love was when I was child, and I’m glad a book like this exists to show kids that this option is available. It’s certainly not a deep look into the lives of children afflicted by cancer, but it’s a nice introduction for kids to see that the simple decisions they make – such as cutting their hair – can help others.

Jill Coste

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