Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

 

Children

Baghead BagheadJarrett Krosoczka; Dell Dragonfly Books 2004WorldCat

Review by Molly

“On Wednesday morning, Josh had a notion. Josh having an idea is not anything new. But this time,it is a notion not like any he has had before. It is a very BIG notion. A very BROWN notion. A very BIG, BROWN, BAG notion…”

While in his bedroom Josh cut holes in a big paper bag. The holes are for his eyes and mouth, he puts the bag over his head and sets out down the stairs for breakfast. His family was a tad surprised.

After breakfast and still wearing his paper bag, Josh leaves for a busy day working at school and taking part in his soccer practice. The adults in his life, parents, teacher, the bus driver, and especially his soccer coach are less than satisfied when they see Josh and bag covered head.

All day he hears, “You can’t eat breakfast with a paper bag on your head!” “You crazy kid! You can’t go to school like that!” “How do you plan to play like that?” and so it goes.

On the other hand, and to the astonishment of the adults, Josh has a pretty successful day. He eats breakfast with little difficulty, gives his book report, in fact he even scores three goals during his soccer game. At last during dinner, his little sister asks the question all have been wondering: “Why are you wearing a bag, Josh?”

My resident critics eyed the cover of Baghead with interest. As a teacher of many years’ experience; one look at the cover and I was certain what we were going to learn about the boy in the bag.

Jarrett Krosoczka’s uncomplicated, amiably entertaining account connects with children from the outset. I like the vivid, expressive illustrations. Individual sketches delivered in broad, layered brush strokes accompany short sentences presented in a childlike script. Using various colors and font styles set to accompany the current page intrigues children as they follow the narrative. Curiosity piqued by the cover, carries into the reading. We have now read the tale several times, and it is chosen by little people for free time reading or for taking into a DEAR office for reading during our Drop Everything and Read time.

Fifteen first graders exclaimed in one voice, “I knew it,” when Josh answered his sister’s question:

“Because I tried to cut my own hair.”

Next morning his sister comes up with a very COOL idea per my resident critics. She has a mega hold gel plan and it works just fine. Josh looks pretty cool and happy too with his spiky hair standing up.

I knew we needed this book for our classroom library the moment I saw the cover, so far this year two of our students have come to school with new hair cuts, not of their own making, but worrisome to them none the less as they contemplated life with the new ‘do. One boy didn’t want to go against our school no hat rule, on the other hand, his buzz had him very upset. The little girl in the pretty new blunt cut felt shy to remove her “hoodie”.

We are learning empathy in our first grade. It didn’t take long as fourteen classmates praised and exclaimed over how nice the new do looks before the hoodie or the hat disappeared into a back pack.

Writer Krosoczka has provided an excellent tool for classroom use. Every teacher I know or have ever known has had students come to school wanting to disappear into the cupboard, or wishing they had a paper bag in which to hide. Baghead is going to be one of the books I read on the first day of school from now until I no longer am teaching. It will be joining, Stand Back Said The Elephant, I’m Going to Sneeze , which I have used for years to prepare children for the inevitable sneeze, which rattles the windows, and is part and parcel of Mrs. M.

Baghead received 30 thumbs up from Osage County first grade, Mrs. Martin’s class. The book is a good choice for the home, classroom, school and public library list. It is a nice addition to children’s pleasure reading collection. Happy to recommend.

More books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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