cover image Bugs in My Hair!

Bugs in My Hair!

David Shannon. Scholastic/Blue Sky, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-14313-4

Shannon offers young head lice victims and the grownups who love them a much-needed source of levity and empathy. His itchy redheaded hero can’t help imagining the worst—which is right up Shannon’s alley (his always expressive hand-lettering is deployed to especially good effect). What if the boy becomes a social pariah? What if his condition requires a scorched scalp policy? What if the “lice-a-palooza” in his hair (which looks more like a hootenanny than a rock festival) takes over the entire house? Shannon wisely allows these anxieties to vent, then calmly defuses them with epiphanies (“I found out a bunch of kids had them!”) and informative asides (“Relax. Dogs don’t get head lice”). He also underscores the idea that every lice-ridden kid has a secret weapon: mom (the book is dedicated to “moms everywhere and their battled-tested anti-lice weapons”). By book’s end, the lice have been whittled down from satanic scourge to manageable pain, and readers will come away reassured that it will take a lot more than a bunch of bug-eyed, multilegged “Little Nasties” to sink their families. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)