Review Blog

Jan 21 2011

Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2010. ISBN 9781408813935.
(Age 5-7) On the night of the full moon, Vlad picks up a young boy and together they go to his father's barbershop. He gets out his scissors, rotting tonic, horn polish, and stink wax and gets ready for his customers. He has some regulars, all of whom are monsters, but even monsters need haircuts. Then a normal customer comes in. What is he to do?
McElligott has a wonderful sense of humour. The use of words like 'shamp-ewww' ensures that young children will giggle all the way through the book. Children will also have fun identifying the monsters that come to have their hair cut.
The accompanying illustrations are equally as humorous as the text. The little boy wears green monster slippers, and each one of the monsters is drawn with a deft touch. Pictures of monsters getting haircuts that really suit them, like Frankenstein with a flat top and Medusa with snake plaits, are very funny. Vlad, who changes from a bat that accompanies the boy to the shop, to a vampire with a swirling cape, is a great companion for the boy to have. Little touches like changing the pictures in the shop from famous people to monsters are also fascinating. The idea of cutting the hair of monsters takes away any scary aspect of them as does the bright colours and cartoon like characters.
This is a hilarious, original story that will delight children, especially boys and reluctant readers and is ideal for a Halloween theme.
Pat Pledger

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