The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School

( 5 )

Overview

Zoe Fleefenbacher has one blue eye and one green eye and bright red hair that goes on . . . forever. Her hair has always been unruly, but now she is in first grade and according to her teacher, Ms. Trisk, “first grade has rules.” It takes countless barrettes and scrunchies to finally hold Zoe’s hair. But when it can help with an uncooperative science lesson, will Ms. Trisk let Zoe’s hair free? Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson and vibrant illustrator Ard Hoyt style a hair-raising story that is sure to be a ...

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Overview

Zoe Fleefenbacher has one blue eye and one green eye and bright red hair that goes on . . . forever. Her hair has always been unruly, but now she is in first grade and according to her teacher, Ms. Trisk, “first grade has rules.” It takes countless barrettes and scrunchies to finally hold Zoe’s hair. But when it can help with an uncooperative science lesson, will Ms. Trisk let Zoe’s hair free? Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson and vibrant illustrator Ard Hoyt style a hair-raising story that is sure to be a ‘do!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rapunzel has nothing on young Zoe, whose flowing red tresses are not only her crowning glory but can also “turn on the TV, pour a glass of juice, pet the cat, and play on the computer—all at the same time.” But while Zoe's kindergarten teacher embraced the fact that the hair had a life all its own (“at nap time, the hair was a comfort”), first grade brings the stern Ms. Trisk, who is decidedly unamused. Anderson (Independent Dames) and Hoyt (Utterly Otterly Day) are comically sympathetic to the ways in which an unfortunate class placement can turn a school-age child's world upside down. But not to worry—by story's end, everyone's having a good hair day. Ages 6–10. (June)
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
I have loved Anderson's young adult books for a long time; now I can add my enjoyment of her newest picture book. The story follows young Zoe and her amazing red hair from birth to first grade. Zoe's parents embraced Zoe's extensive hair, buying "two strollers and two cribs and two high chairs./ One for Zoe Fleefenbacher and one for Zoe's hair." Kindergarten was no problem either, especially when the teacher realized how useful the hair was in keeping the room clean and the classes organized. But when Zoe hits first grade and rule-focused Ms Trisk, the hair becomes a problem for Zoe because the hair increasingly seems to have a mind of its own. The more Ms Trisk insists on no rule-breaking, the more the hair acts out. It is not until Zoe is finally able to control her hair and a specific classroom activity that life returns to "normal;" Zoe's eventual control of this situation allows the story to make lovely points about self-identity and learning to work with others to create community. The illustrations throughout the text are vivid and playful; I cannot imagine any young reader not laughing out loud at some of the antics of the red hair as it does everything from "turn on the TV, pour a glass of juice, pet the cat, and play on the computer—all at the same time." This is a fun, engaging book that will certainly entertain a variety of readers. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Zoe has a glorious bright red mane. In fact, her "wild and beautiful" hair seems to have a mind of its own, performing various tasks (it can "turn on the TV, pour a glass of juice, pet the cat, and play the computer—all at the same time") and even allowing her to fly. While this isn't a problem in kindergarten, things change in first grade. Ms. Trisk bluntly states, "School has rules…. No wild hair in my class!" She tries to rein in Zoe's unruly tresses with disciplinary measures, a stretchy hat, and even a meeting with the principal. Finally, Zoe's locks are contained with scrunchies, barrettes, bobby pins, and duct tape, an arrangement that also weighs down the girl's spirits. However, when Zoe's locks break free to lend a hand with a demonstration about orbiting planets, it's Ms. Trisk who learns a lesson. Anderson's narrative sparkles with exuberant language and exaggerated humor. Hoyt's buoyant cartoons, done in pen and ink and watercolors, are filled with flowing lines and comical touches. While the plot specifics are a bit far-fetched, the tale touches upon pertinent themes, such as the challenges of transitioning between kindergarten and first grade, the importance of looking for solutions to problems, and the fact that teachers often learn from their students. An imaginative and appealing back-to-school choice.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
To say that Zoe's hair is unruly wildly understates the case. Zoe's red tresses "[go] on . . . forever," pouring juice, petting the cat and playing on the computer-simultaneously. Zoe's parents rightly celebrate it: "It was her sail, her kite, her flag." But when she gets to first grade, the odious Ms Trisk insists that it follow the rules, confining it till both Zoe and hair are miserable. That Zoe's hair will both burst out of its prison and save the day goes without question, but Anderson and Hoyt play the goof for all it's worth. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict a freckle-faced, knobby-kneed Zoe, whose magnificent mane twines luxuriantly and massively across the page. The just-deadpan-enough text carries the visuals with ease-a well-coiffed winner. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689858093
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 391,223
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist Speak, Fever 1793, Catalyst, Twisted, and Chains. Laurie lives in Mexico, New York.

Ard Hoyt illustrated One-Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova and John Lithgow’s I’m a Manatee. His most recent title with Simon & Schuster was Utterly Otterly Day by Mary Casanova. He lives in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Big Hit with My Preschooler

    This story is hysterical. I first picked up because the title made me chuckle and I have a Zoe. It's definitely for older preschoolers and up. Zoe Fleefenbacher's hair is quite animated and might be a little scary for younger children. The story has a great cadance, some nice vocabulary words, rich illustrations, and gives you plenty to talk about as you read. My daughter loves books and this is a new favorite of hers.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Bedtime favorite

    This is one of the books all 3 of my kids can agree on at bedtime. We love Zoe and LHA!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 13, 2012

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    Posted March 13, 2010

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    Posted September 2, 2009

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