May 25, 2020

The Haircut

Written by Theo Heras
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
Pajama Press
24 pp.
Ages 1-3
May 2020

There's probably a lot of trepidation with respect to haircuts right now as many barbershops and salons are closed and people are taking on the task themselves. Fortunately, most of of have a history of haircuts and know what to expect, even if we ourselves don't know what to do. But imagine a toddler who has never had a haircut. That first haircut can generate much confusion and even distress for the unknown but Theo Heras and Renné Benoit's newest picture book, The Haircut, will comfort any child and probably a parent or two, as a young boy is taken to the barbershop for the first time.
From The Haircut by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit
This little boy may not know he needs a haircut but he does notice how it falls in his face when he plays. Even as he tries to keep it out of his eyes, it again falls. No wonder it's decided that it's time for a haircut.
From The Haircut by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit
From The Haircut by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit
Off goes child and father hand in hand to the barbershop marked with its red, white and blue pole. Of course the boy wonders if it will hurt. There are after all dangerous scissors involved. But, with an animal print cape, a chair that goes up high and his dad holding his little hand, the child is reassured, especially when he gets a lollipop and no longer has long hair getting in his eyes.
From The Haircut by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit
What a wonderful book to read with toddlers (and then get them reading for themselves) who will be experiencing their first haircut. It speaks to them, not their parents who think their hair is too long or wants it styled or thinks it's time. It's time because the little boy's hair keeps falling in his eyes and gets in the way of his play. He knows it's not convenient so they know it too.

Theo Heras, along with illustrator Renné Benoit, has taken children through a number of common childhood experiences (e.g., Hat On, Hat Off; Baby Cakes; and Where's Bunny?) in these uniquely presented books. The padded cover with rounded edges and extra-heavy pages are far nicer than board books usually aimed at the youngest of readers and are a treat to handle and to read to young children. The Haircut is similarly comforting and informing. That book cover portrait that focuses on the child and his glorious tresses and doubtful face invites the reader in, and Renné Benoit's watercolour and digital illustrations are similarly engaging, both uncluttered and complete. Like Theo Heras's words, Renné Benoit has illustrated The Haircut for the young child, though everyone can appreciate the book.

Whether a parent wants to help a child to prepare for that first haircut or to reminisce about that first experience, The Haircut is there for an snuggly read.

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