cover image Crazy Hair

Crazy Hair

Neil Gaiman, , illus. by Dave McKean. . HarperCollins, $18.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-057908-1

“Mister, you've got crazy hair,” Bonnie, a girl in a tank top, tells the narrator, whose dark hair twists and tangles across the spreads. (Are they strangers? Relatives? McKean's masklike faces make it hard to tell.) “In my hair/ Gorillas leap,/ Tigers stalk,/ And ground sloths sleep,” the man tells her. Cockatoos, explorers, hot-air balloons, pirate ships and more—“These await/ The ones who dare/ Navigate my crazy hair.” McKean blends line drawing, paint and closeup images of hair to convey the dizzying variety of life within the man's locks. Even the text participates in the mayhem: lines of type swirl, switch fonts, and swell and shrink for emphasis. When bossy Bonnie offers to tame the man's unruly mop with her comb, he warns, “Miss, just be aware/ This is really crazy hair,” but it's too late; she meets a Roald Dahlesque end, hauled deep into a new world, “safe inside my crazy hair.” While some may find the tale's intensity off-putting, fans of Gaiman and McKean's (The Wolves in the Walls ) twisted humor will welcome this lighter-than-usual addition. Ages 4–8. (June)