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Children's LiteratureMelissa has "the most beautiful hair anyone had ever seen." Everywhere she goes, people exclaim about it. When she was younger, she liked this, but now she wants to be noticed for something more than just her hair, so she makes a list of possible ways to be spectacular. But even hard practice cannot help her set a record in basketball. And no matter how hard Melissa tries, little Maddie produces far better art. Then Melissa tries being helpful and kind and for weeks she forgets about her hair problem, until she sees a sign at Bernice's beauty salon asking for donations of hair for children who need wigs. Finally Melissa has found a way to be special for what she does. And her hair will still be beautiful, even for someone else. For this moral tale, Bloom's illustrations—done in gouache, colored pencil, and crayon—tell a vigorous visual tale of youthful engagement in life's opportunities. We see Melissa at times in vignettes displaying a dancer's grace as she sweeps an imagined floor or rakes a non-existent garden. Other double-page scenes show the details of her world and her involvement with others. Bloom's naturalism deals with the significance of the outstanding hair without overshadowing the charm of her appealing heroine. 2006, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz