Monday, March 30, 2020

Starred Review from BOOKLIST

★ Lion Needs a Haircut. 
By Hyewon Yum. Illus. by the author
May 2020. 40p. Abrams, $16.99 (9781419742248). PreS–Gr. 2

In a hilarious psychological tug-of-war, a lion tells his son he has to get a haircut, while the shaggy cub resists—and not because he’s scared. The father goes about addressing the many potential fears associated with haircuts—of scissors, of razors, of looking like an antelope—but after the cub cries, “No! Roar!” the dad answers, “YES! ROAR!” and they’re off into town. When the chastened child admits he just wanted a wild mane like his father’s, Dad gives him a kiss, prompting complaints about the big lion’s “prickly” hair. “You need a haircut!” “Me? No.” But the tables have turned, and after a few well-placed criticisms expose the father’s terror and bring him to his knees, the pair finally agree to get haircuts together. This latest from picture-book veteran Yum brims with heart and charm, turning a classic childhood conflict on its head with subtle style and wit. The colored-pencil illustrations are light and breezy, rendering both lions in loose casual wear and flip-flops as they strive in their battle of wills. The text is comprised entirely of dialogue, with the art bringing out the humorous subtext through the lions’ fittingly unrestrained emotions—accentuated in Dad by a wonderfully expressive unibrow—as well as an abundance of clever background details. Great for Father’s Day or just for kicks.

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