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Stephanie's Ponytail
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About the Author

Robert Munsch is the author of more than 25 books for children including "The Paper Bag Princes" and "Stephanie's Ponytail." He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied to be a Jesuit priest before deciding to work with children instead. He taught in a variety of nursery schools and daycare centers while he earned an MA in Early Childhood Education. In 1975, Munsch and his wife, Ann, moved to Guelph, Ontario. The Munschs have three children: Julie, Andrew, and Tyya (see them all in "Something Good!"). Michael Martchenko has illustrated over 30 books for children and has exhibited his work throughout North America. He has won numerous awards for design and illustration. He lives with his wife, Patricia, in Toronto.

Reviews

Gr 1-3-"Ugly, ugly, very ugly," decrees the class when Stephanie arrives in school with a ponytail. But the next day, all the girls have ponytails, too. Dismayed and disgusted by these copycats, Stephanie has her Mom move her ponytail to one side with the same results. After wearing it top and front as well, Stephanie confronts the class with her final act of defiance-she announces that she's going to shave her head! Next day, her teacher and classmates are bald as billiard balls and Stephanie? Why, she's chased from the classroom with her very ordinary ponytail flying out behind her. Munsch lampoons the slavish conformity of kids while applauding Stephanie's courage and audacity in this thinly disguised paean to individualism. The cumulative text and progressively more unusual hairstyles will appeal to young readers, and the turnabout ending is satisfying if not surprising. Students of all genders, races, body types, and ages are equally subject to ridicule. The blatant hostility to Stephanie's creative coiffures is never explained, however, and her unholy glee when escaping the rampaging mob of bald classmates borders on malicious. The text is presented opposite the full-page watercolor illustrations that are suitably cartoonish and silly. Independent readers will notice the funny details, such as pets with ponytails. While too small for use with large groups, this book could spark a lively discussion if read aloud. Predictable, irreverent Munsch.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ

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