Crazy Hair Day
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Crazy Hair Day

5.0 1
by Barney Saltzberg

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Stanley Birdbaum couldn’t be more excited. He has rolled and wrapped and dyed his hair. He has dipped it and sprayed it and made it, well, perfect. He is ready to celebrate Crazy Hair Day at school. But when Stanley saunters up to the classroom, he learns, to his horror, that Crazy Hair Day is . . . next week. To make matters worse, today is School Picture Day,


Stanley Birdbaum couldn’t be more excited. He has rolled and wrapped and dyed his hair. He has dipped it and sprayed it and made it, well, perfect. He is ready to celebrate Crazy Hair Day at school. But when Stanley saunters up to the classroom, he learns, to his horror, that Crazy Hair Day is . . . next week. To make matters worse, today is School Picture Day, and everyone is expected to line up for the class photo! What’s Stanley to do?

"A crackerjack read-aloud with a great finish. . . . This delightful tale of confusion and compassion is just the ticket to defuse potential teasing." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stanley Birdbaum has committed perhaps the worst possible kid faux pas: he has worn a wacky hairstyle to school for Crazy Hair Day-on the wrong day. In fact, it's actually Class Picture Day. Granted, Stanley's 'do has been expertly executed by Stanley's mom: "She wrapped. She dipped. And to make his hair perfect, she sprayed Stanley's hair bright orange and blue. `Ta-da!' said Stanley. `I am a work of art!' " But his pride vaporizes when Stanley discovers his error, and he takes refuge in the boys' bathroom, resolving to be a no-show for the class photo. Saltzberg (Soccer Mom from Outer Space) portrays the characters as roly-poly hedgehog-like critters, but the school setting and social milieu are authentically and poignantly human. He understands how kids revel in the ostensible rule-breaking and goofy creativity of "Spirit Days" ("Stanley rolled the rubber bands in his hair. He gently tapped the tops of his spikes" before entering the classroom), and also how life at the elementary level takes no prisoners-even Stanley's best friend Larry scores a quip at his expense ("Is that a hair-do or a hair-don't?"). The story begins to sink under the weight of empathy as the coif-challenged hero slowly works through his embarrassment (with an assist from the now conciliatory Larry). But the wrap-up offers Stanley the perfect hair tonic: the entire class welcomes him to the class picture with their own hastily improvised but undisputedly zany headdress. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This uplifting picture book tells the story of a hamster named Stanley Birdbaum who comes to school prepared for crazy hair day only to find that it is actually picture day! This upsetting mix-up causes poor Stanley his full share of embarrassment and shame. As Stanley hides from his classmates in the boy's bathroom, even his best friend, Larry Finchfeather, is unable to console him. Finally, when Stanley has no choice but to join his class for the school picture, an unexpected but delightful surprise occurs—Stanley's classmates have turned school picture day into crazy hair day! Now, everyone will be united by their off-beat hair styles. The power of friendship and empathy has never been portrayed so elegantly. This is a book that will definitely delight its readers. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 6 to 9.
—Michele Coulombe
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Excited about it being Crazy Hair Day at school, Stanley enlists his mother's help to decorate his hair using rubber bands, hair gel, and spray color. He arrives at school and is horrified to find out that it's class picture day—Crazy Hair Day is the following week. When his classmates tease him about his unusual appearance, Stanley resolves to spend the day in the bathroom. When his best friend encourages him to come out of hiding for the photo session, Stanley arrives in the classroom and is overjoyed to see that all of his classmates have created crazy hairdos for the occasion. The DVD has three tracks: an animated version of Barry Saltzberg's book (Candlewick, 2003), a music video of the author's song of the same title, and an interview with Saltzberg who talks about his background as an author/illustrator/musician, where he gets his ideas, and his inspiration for this story (a child who had cancer) and song. Saltzberg's comical pencil, ink, and acrylic illustrations have been crisply animated. While the backgrounds remain static, the movement of the characters draws viewers in and extends the story. Attention to detail in the artwork is emphasized, with added snippets such as Stanley doing a "happy dance" and flushing the toilets that match Saltzberg's style. Zach Braff does an admirable job of reading the text, using slight changes in pitch and intonation to indicate different characters and moods. A read-along option can be activated on the DVD. This outstanding adaptation of a delightful book will be useful for units on friendship, compassion, teamwork, and risk taking.—Stephanie Bange, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Saltzberg conveys the pleasing goofiness of special days at school when students can let their hair down-Pajama Day, Sixties Day, or best of all: Crazy Hair Day. Only Stanley Birdbaum-who, along with his schoolmates, looks like a reclining acorn perched atop a roly-poly body-gets the day wrong. It's Picture Day, not Crazy Hair Day. Mortified, he takes up residence in the school bathroom. His friend gently coaxes him back to the room to take his place in the class picture: "Remember Sixties Day, when Mr. Winger had the flu but came in anyway? He said the day wouldn't be the same if we weren't all together." There he finds his mates ready for the photographer with all manner of strange adornments on their heads: wastepaper baskets, piles of crayons, a stack of books; Mr. Winger is wearing a globe. "This is going to be a day I never forget," Stanley had said when he left home that morning with his rainbow thatch. Right you are, Stanley. (Picture book. 4-8)
Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
Stanley is so excited about Crazy Hair Day after celebrating several other wacky holidays. But he makes one very crucial and embarrassing mistake. Today is school picture day, not crazy hair day. All the excitement turns to dread as Stanley's friend teases him about his appearance and he disappears into the bathroom. Stanley hides for a while, but listens to his friend's encouragement and finally comes out for the school picture and finds a big surprise. The included CD features a reading with the page turns, without the page turns, an author interview and an original song from Barney Saltzberg. Narrator Zach Braff gives each character their own voice and the cadence of his voice works well with the accompanying music and text. Young readers will relate to Stanley's embarrassment and will enjoy listening to the story on their own. Teachers will appreciate why this story was written and it will set up an interesting class discussion. This set is especially recommended for classroom and school libraries so young readers can listen and read along. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Stanley Birdbaum has been looking forward to crazy hair day for weeks. He has all his supplies: rubber bands and blue and orange Halloween hair color. The morning of crazy hair day Stanley's mom helps him style his hair in a truly wild fashion. He just knows it's going to be a hit. But when Stanley gets to school he discovers that crazy hair day is next week and today is actually picture day, Stanley's class is stunned by his unusual hairdo and Stanley is mortified. He decides to spend the day in the bathroom but his friend Larry Finchfeather manages to convince him that the class picture wouldn't be the same without him. When Stanley finally rejoins his class he is surprised by what he sees. This is a fun DVD that will have children empathizing instantly with Stanley and the ending will delight them. It's a fantastically funny story about friendship. There is also a fun music video with a silly song by the author and parents and educators will appreciate the before- and after-viewing suggested activities offered inside. There is additionally an interview with Barney Saltzberg that is quite informative. Reviewer: Miranda McClain

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.81(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.33(d)
AD560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

BARNEY SALTZBERG is the author-illustrator of many books for children and has also recorded two albums of music for children. When not writing and illustrating, he performs in schools, libraries, bookstores, and hospitals.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Crazy Hair Day 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrific book!  If you have kids that give you a hard time getting ready in the morning, this is a must read.  Engaging for all ages!