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Nit-Pickin'

Overview

I was scritcha-scratchin'
while a batch-a bugs
was hatchin',
yes, those cooties were
attachin' to my head.

When nits attack,
no one is safe —

and if the lice don't get you,
the cures surely will....

...
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Overview

I was scritcha-scratchin'
while a batch-a bugs
was hatchin',
yes, those cooties were
attachin' to my head.

When nits attack,
no one is safe —

and if the lice don't get you,
the cures surely will....

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Cooties were a-crawlin'/ on my head, on my head,/ Cooties were a-crawlin' on my head." So begins the hilarious rhyming saga of a young girl suffering with the cooties that are "attachin'" to her hair. The serious problem of an infestation of nits is made a humorous adventure, as one family member after another tries a sometimes painful cure on our poor scratchin' heroine. The family dog finally comes to the rescue with the right shampoo and our narrator is happily scratch-free at last. The vernacular verse offers Booth the chance to create two simultaneous visual tales. There is a cast of comic humans on the single and double pages while across the top of the pages there is a continuing panel of the nits arriving and happily settling in, then fighting off all attacks until the last. A ballpoint pen produces the frantic lines, which are digitally colored. The whole cast adds to the fun. But it is up on top, where strands of hair are like tree trunks, the crew are picnicking, then drowning in the shampoo, with their tombstones shown on the last page, that makes the funniest part of the story. Along with the humor is some reassurance for the kids who may get similar visitors. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3- Children who have experienced an invasion of nits will readily empathize with the dilemma facing the red-haired protagonist in this rollicking look at a lice infestation and the drastic steps one family takes to remove the bugs. Told in verse, using the voice of a young girl who consistently drops her "g's," this humorous tale has a down-home comic charm: "I was scritcha-scratchin'/while a batch-a bugs/was hatchin',/yes, those cooties were/attachin' to my head." The lively text is complemented by the over-the-top antics observed in Booth's cartoon illustrations. The grandmother's facial expressions are particularly giggle-inducing. The top margin of each page is a close-up view of the nit-infested scalp that detail-oriented readers will enjoy studying. Libraries looking for a humorous introduction to the topic will want to consider purchasing this book for a laugh-filled lesson on a common childhood condition.-Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA

Kirkus Reviews
Though perhaps not particularly amusing to children (or their parents) who have actually battled the little scalp-suckers, this bouncy-jouncy plaint at least attempts to put a comical spin on the experience. "I was scritcha-scratchin' / while a batch-a bugs / was hatchin', / yes, those cooties were / attachin' to my head," moans the red-haired young narrator. Unfortunately, everyone in her extended family has a remedy-from Gramma's mayonnaise cure to Mama's plastic wrap, from Gramps's kerosene concoction to (at last) the dog's tube of special shampoo. Above the cartoon scenes of bedraggled country characters stomping ferociously about, Booth runs a thin continuous strip showing little bugs parachuting down to a seemingly forested cranial landscape, hatching in droves in a "nit picknic area" and wading through various sorts of gloop. Closing with a view of a nit graveyard thick with tombstones bearing legends like "Here lies Itty-Bitty Nitty, Jr.", this kneeslapper makes a suitable alternative where Miriam Moss's Scritch Scratch (2001) has already been picked out. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689838989
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,411,428
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Van Laan has written many books perfect for reading aloud, including So Say the Little Monkeys; Little Fish, Lost; With a Whoop and a Holler, an American Library Association Notable Book; and the 1990 Parents' Choice Award winner, Possum Come a-Knockin'. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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