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Bugs in my Hair! by David Shannon


“WARNING: The head lice in this book will make you ITCHY!”

BUGS IN MY HAIR! by David ShannonAnd guess what? It’s true. BUGS IN MY HAIR! (The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, $17.99, ages 4 and up), by local Burbank-based, award-winning author and illustrator, David Shannon, is a perfect picture book year round, but especially for back-to-school time when so many things are new. Especially head lice.

Thank you, David Shannon, for taking the “shame” and “humiliation” out of head lice. In fact, with Bugs in My Hair!, Shannon has actually succeeded in making the experience seem almost, well … fun! Okay, maybe fun is stretching it. Itchy is more accurate because simply saying lice and nits causes an instant uncomfortable, uncontrollable urge to scratch and squirm

Bugs in my Hair! gives kids who have had a case of head lice an opportunity to claim membership in the “been there, done that” club that many young readers may unwittingly join one day. I can see them shouting out their personal experiences as the school librarian reads the story to a class of second graders. “I had so many head lice my mom had to call up the Census Bureau.”

The artwork makes this book stand out among head lice stories. It’s hilarious, imaginative and genuinely complements every single line. I’m particularly partial to the page featuring BUGZILLA conquering the world. This ’50s movie style illustration is so clever and exaggerated that both kids and parents will crack up. The popcorn chomping louse lounging on the sofa with a remote in one claw, a drink in another is brilliant. On the other end of the sofa, relaxing with the latest issue of Parasite magazine, is a cigar smoking louse squishing the main character, a red-headed youth who wants nothing more than these nuisances to go bye-bye. “It was like they took over our whole life!” 

Art © David Shannon 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Art © David Shannon 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Shannon humorously sheds light on the lice experience so it’s no longer scary, just annoying and somewhat silly. This type of approach will help hundreds of kids hearing this story read aloud realize that getting head lice is not the end of the world. It’s a major inconvenience, a pain in the neck and head kind of thing, but it can be dealt with and eradicated. But I’ll admit that when head lice move in, it’s tempting for parents to want to move out!

Oh, if only I’d had this book when my kids were little! I’ll never forget the day in London 10 years ago when one lone louse landed on our kitchen table during a meal with close British friends. As Americans we were aghast, embarrassed and in denial. It meant we were dirty, right? WRONG!! Thankfully our friend was well versed in all things creepy, crawly and blood-sucking. She regaled us with tales of how many times and with what methods she had deloused her three children. The nasty nits, it seemed, were common in schools throughout the U.K. That nit-picking pep talk empowered me and I went after those suckers with a vengeance. How dare they lodge in my little one’s locks?! My search and destroy mission had just begun. The local chemist (pharmacist) recommended a tried and tested product which I applied to my daughter’s head as if every stroke were on a priceless Picasso canvas. I bagged up stuffed animals, washed clothing, scoured scalps (hers, mine and my husband’s) and changed towels twice a day. After successfully ridding the freeloaders, I was determined to keep them from ever showing their faces again. I became the tea-tree oil terminator. My kid could not leave for school without a spray of stinky tea-tree oil in her hair to ward off interlopers. It worked. That and a lot of daily inspections. Trust me, you must be vigilant. Buy Bugs in my Hair! and prepare. Coming soon to a classroom near you!

– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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Try the new Facts of Lice™ app which include:

  • Outbreak tab – providing real time alerts on reported lice outbreaks.  Simply search by state and zip code and the app will instantly confirm if an outbreak has been reported in that area within the past four weeks
  • Prevention tab – providing easy guidelines on how to prevent and check for lice if an outbreak has been reported
  • Removal tab – featuring instructions on how to remove nits and lice during an outbreak
  • News tab – reporting the latest lice news and information from Fairy Tales Hair Care Download the FREE Facts of Lice™ app at  Coming soon to Android mobile devices.
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