written by Kate Hosford; illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
2011 (Carolrhoda Books)
Source: Mebane Public Library
Annabelle only sees pony tails and braids in her classroom and decides that she needs to go a different route. Inspiration comes from a picture of her bouffant coiffed grandmother. She begs her mother to help her. Mom instead tries to talk Annabelle into a different hairstyle. This won't do, so Annabelle decides to use some kitchen items to make her own bouffant. What follows is a catastrophe of hair, ketchup, a bird, and other various items. Mom feels pity for Annabelle and decides to help. Upon the first appearance of the new 'do at school, Annabelle's classmates are skeptical and a little rude. This doesn't bother her at all and the next day brings a change of heart from several classmates. Soon bouffants rule the day, which actually makes Annabelle a little sad since she doesn't stand out from the crowd anymore. It's back to the drawing board for a new look and Annabelle does not disappoint.
As a teacher, I have striven to help students find their own voice. Annabelle finds hers through hair. My oldest daughter is named for a student who used red Kool-Aid to streak her hair one year. I liked the fact that she, like Annabelle, was not worried about what other students would say. This student also wore mismatched socks which were kind of cool. Big Bouffant is about being yourself and creating your own path.
I would pair this book with Laurie Halse Anderson's The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher or This is My Hair by Todd Parr for a nice 'do duo.