Like the protagonist's head, this first book is full of colors . . . and patterns and more colors and patterns. Kiki, who is known for her T-shirts and greeting cards, brings some--but not enough--relief to Friend's preachy story with jolly, cluttered illustrations. One morning Maria discovers her hair has turned a rainbow of colors and, correspondingly, that she can now paint beautifully. A few days later her hair turns into hundreds of books, and she reads and thinks better than ever. Animals and then people occupy her tresses, developing her appreciation of both. When her plain brown locks return, she sobs, ``My head is empty,'' but after her mother reassures her that her head is still full of ideas, Maria ``skips down the hall with her head held high. `Look, Mom, my head is full of me!' '' Although Maria's predicament is appealingly silly at first, the story is quickly bludgeoned by its thinly disguised adult agenda. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In this well-meaning but didactic fantasy, Maria wakes up, looks in the mirror, and sees what looks like a wild, multicolored hat shaped like a dandelion puffball where her hair should be. Shortly thereafter, her wise and affirming mother notices that Maria's paintings are becoming more colorful. When she wakes up with a head full of books, Maria becomes a veritable walking encyclopedia. Next her head is full of animals, then people, resulting in her increased sensitivity and ability to relate to those around her. So accustomed to this fantastic phenomenon is she, that when she wakes up to find nothing but her plain brown hair, she sobs, "`My head is empty.'" Her mother reassures her that her head really is full of animals and people and books, and Maria is forced to look in the mirror again and conclude cheerfully that "`My head is full of me!'" Spinning off her popular and recognizable T-shirt and greeting-card designs, Kiki has illustrated this fantasy with her characteristic, intensely hued watercolors. The characters and settings are portrayed in a series of hasty, flat, folk-art cartoons. Her compositions are cluttered with heavy lines; relentless patterns; and strident, intensely hued watercolors for a somewhat jarring effect. Appropriately enough for her predicament, Maria speaks mostly in an exclamatory style (Wow! Yikes!), which grows tiresome. For a girl with imagination who discovers her own identity and self-worth by doing rather than by looking in a mirror, choose Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace (Dial, 1991).-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Most people know illustrator Kiki as the creator of T-shirts and greeting cards, some like her Bookwoman line sold by the American Library Association. This story, based on one of Kiki's pictures, begins when Maria awakes and finds the hair on her head is full of colors, and so, for the next few days, she spends her time painting beautiful pictures. Next, Maria's head is full of books, so she reads and reads--little books and big books, fiction and nonfiction. People fill Maria's head, too, so she talks to people. But one day, Maria wakes up and there's nothing special in her head. Maria's mother informs her, "There must be something wrong with your mirror," and reminds Maria of all the wonderful, crazy things that still reside in her noggin. Kiki's energetic, childlike artistic style, full of colors, captures the exuberance Maria feels when she realizes all the terrific things there are to do and see and feel in the world. Kids will respond to the art, to the expression of sentiments, and, most of all, to all the things going on in Maria's head.