Oh, What a Tangle!
Horribly tangled hair is the bane of many a small child, but don’t count Kiki in that camp. She disregards her mother’s advice to brush her hair, finding other things to occupy her time: “Like drawing pictures on every right shoe,/ Or painting each toenail a different hue/ Or building a toppling tower of pans/ Or drawing designs on both of her hands.” In short order, Kiki’s once-silky brunette locks have transformed into a gnarled mass, perfect for carrying school supplies, growing herbs, and even cleaning out-of-reach windows. Trzpil’s characters have the prominent brows of a Brancusi sculpture, and she makes the most of each wild scenario: eventually, Kiki’s hair is more topiary than hairdo, and her mother is steaming from her ears. Writing in rhymes that are often forced, Pouroulis emphasizes Kiki as an unconventional, I’ll-do-it-my-way kind of girl, which makes the ending—with Mom using pruning shears to give Kiki a plain old bob—feel like a real loss. The invitation to “See Kiki’s other hairstyles” on an available app isn’t much compensation. Ages 3–8. (June)