cover image Blue Bison Needs a Haircut

Blue Bison Needs a Haircut

Scott Rothman, illus. by Pete Oswald. Random House Studio, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5934-2816-0

Previous collaborators and comedy pros Rothman and Oswald (Attack of the Underwear Dragon) introduce readers to an eponymous protagonist who genuinely enjoys haircuts as a way “to look nice and neat for his family and playground associates.” Gouache-textured digital art shows a mustachioed hippo barber turning the protagonist’s tangled curls into a sharp-looking, slicked-back coif. But when the town, barber included, shuts down for “some reason,” Blue Bison does not take it well, even though family and playground associates tell him they’re fine with however he appears. He rams a rock and wallows, and it becomes clear that maybe this love of haircuts is about having a sense of agency, independence, and control. Meanwhile, little sister Bubble Gum Bison is waiting in the wings, eager to try out her hairdressing skills. The creators strike a satisfying balance between the wry and the sweet, adding smile-garnering asides throughout Blue Bison’s journey from frustration to equanimity—and a new ’do. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Andrea Morrison, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Oct.)