cover image Curls


Ruth Forman, illus. by Geneva Bowers. Little Simon, $8.99 (26p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4631-1

In spare text and radiant cartoon art, poet Forman and illustrator Bowers deliver a cheerful celebration of Black hair as four friends with differing skin tones and hairstyles meet up. One child awakens, hair wrapped as she flashes herself a “mirror smile”; she awaits the others’ arrival while an older caretaker sees to her ’do on the porch (“smooth grease?/ yes please!”). Eye-catching illustrations portray arriving school-age children sporting an Afro, pigtail puffs, and beaded braids, as the protagonist’s loose curls are worked into cornrows. When her hair is done, the four head out to play. Though the mix of spare text and older protagonists feels muddled for the board book format, readers will appreciate the diversity of hair textures and styles on a lively group of children who are “always free.” Ages 0 and up. (Dec.)