The Hairdo That Got Away
Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers
A small child narrator tells us how he’s used to a monthly visit to the barbershop with Dad, till one day Dad isn’t there. We don’t know the reason for this separation – perhaps his cool new haircut precipitated a parental row. The consequence though, is that the child’s hair starts growing and growing.
The days become weeks and then months; the hair grows ‘ginormous’ until his teacher, Miss Clarke is unable to recognise her pupil and Mum can’t hear her own child.
There follows a class visit to the zoo when the child, who is without any spending money, is accused of ‘teasing the animals’.
It seems that it’s down to the headteacher to recognise the recalcitrant child is actually struggling with his now unmanageable tangle of emotions and provide some bibliotherapy rather than a telling off.
All ends happily with Dad’s return (now also with a huge mass of troublesome hair) and a new hairstyle for each member of the now re-united family.
Like this reviewer, others both children and adults may find performance poet and author, Joseph Coelho’s warm-hearted story slightly enigmatic. Assuredly youngsters will delight in the unruly head of hair the narrator grows during his emotional upheaval and the funky stars the barber cuts for him.
My Name is Bear
The bear in this story has just moved home and is extraordinarily fond of his name, Bear. So much so that he soon starts introducing himself to his neighbours: “Hello! My name is Bear’ he says to Bird and Fish in turn but can’t stop himself from being rude about their respective names.
This doesn’t slip the notice of an observant earthworm that pops up every time Bear stops to talk.
The exchange with Elephant is downright insulting and Bear continues with his rudeness
until he comes face to face with another ursine character. Now there’s a problem: both claim to be called Bear.
However although Bear 1 loses it completely throwing a tantrum on the spot,
the other Bear is ready to compromise. Eventually, after giving it some consideration, Bear number one agrees that perhaps after all they can share the same name.
Thereafter it’s a case of apologies to all the neighbours who in turn start to think that perhaps the newcomer isn’t quite so bad after all.
That’s not the end of this tale though for not long after a third new neighbour, bear number three, arrives and introduces himself … To reveal the finale would make me a story-spoiler so I’ll merely say that the worm actually has the last word.
Nicola Killen’s amusing tale of acceptance and learning how to get along with others is just right for little humans learning to make their way in the wider world, perhaps having started at playgroup or nursery.