Yvette Poshoglian (text), Danielle McDonald (illus), Hair Disaster (Ella and Olivia #15), Scholastic, 1 July 2015, 64pp., $7.99 (pbk) ISBN 9781743627426
My twin girls lopped off each other’s beautiful hair when they were four, so the latest Ella and Olivia book, Hair Disaster, certainly struck a chord with them. In Hair Disaster, Ella, 7, is excited about having the lead role in her ballet school’s production of Sleeping Beauty. Little sister Olivia, 5, is helping her prepare, trying out mum’s make-up and styling her hair. All is going well until Ella hears the snip snip sound of scissors – and you can guess what happens next! I expect many parents will be able to relate, as mum has to work her magic and make Ella, with her hacked off locks, look like a princess before the big show!
My 7-year-old girls have read a few Ella and Olivia books and really enjoyed this one. They related to the characters and loved the description of Ella’s ballet costume: “It has puffy pink sleeves and a white leotard dotted with silver sparkly swirls“. The book is pitched right at their level, with Sydney author Yvette Poshoglian appealing to girls who like ballet, trying on mum’s make-up and getting into a little bit of mischief. Hair Disaster is a book my girls, who have just learnt to read this year, can handle on their own, or enjoy listening to at bedtime. It’s broken into five chapters, so it can be read in a sitting or drawn out over a few nights.
I really appreciate the lovely way the sisters interact with each other. There’s camaraderie and fun, with Olivia obviously looking up to her big sister. And Ella, while initially furious at the hairdo her little sister has given her, is a gracious big sister and does forgive Olivia.
The Ella and Olivia books are illustrated by New South Wales illustrator Danielle McDonald, who herself has two daughters. Her pictures certainly appeal to young girls. The cover is bright, young and fun and one of my girls is just itching to colour in the black and white line drawings inside.
Reviewed by Carissa Mason