Friday, September 12, 2008

Scritch Scratch - Book Review

Author: Miriam Moss
Illustrator: Delphine Durand
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Orchard Books (July 25, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1841211125
ISBN-13: 978-1841211121

The parent of every elementary school child has had to deal with infestation of lice at one time or another. Scritch Scratch examines the lice dilemma in a humorous way yet does not treat the subject carelessly. However, an irritable situation soon becomes bearable and funny.

The illustrations of cartoon looking classroom and students draw attention to various shades of hair color, short or long hair, and braids that attract this tiny little louse that no one notices until it is too late. All through the book, classroom antics are revealed in rich detail with kids pulling hair and throwing paper airplanes. The louse that is the star of the story has a sunny disposition. “The little louse closed her eyes, held her breath and dove through the air. It didn’t matter where she landed. Any head would be the perfect home.”

After she lands on Ms. Calypso’s long red curly hair, she sings a happy tune as she sticks her eggs to each hair on Ms. Calypso’s head.

“Oh…No one knows from where I came,
A nit, a nibbler with no name,
But watch the teacher scritch and scratch,
When my creepy, crawly babies hatch.”

I even laughed out loud to this tune. After the baby lice hatched and climbed on Ms. Calypso’s cascading curls, they began to hop on to new heads when she goes Scritch Scratch while helping a student. Before long all the little lice had perfect homes of their own.

An infestation of lice at school calls for action from Mr. Trout the principal. He sends letters home to the parents telling them to treat the children’s hair. However, the lice come back because Ms. Calypso lives alone and didn’t have anyone to help her treat her own hair. Mr. Trout offers to help and they end up falling in love. But that is not the end of the potato-looking louse. You will have to read the end of the story to find out what happens.

About the author: Miriam is an award winning author of 70 children's books. She originally published 40 information books, but for the last 12 years she has written fiction. This has included picture books, novelty books and poetry, and recently short stories for the adult market. Her fiction has been translated into 21 languages.

Miriam has had wide experience of working creatively with children, as well as speaking in schools, libraries, at festivals. She offers lively, innovative large group performances, talks, interactive storytelling sessions, readings, seminars, creative writing and poetry workshops.

She was born in England but also grew up in Africa, The Middle East and China. After university she taught English for eight years in the UK and Kenya before becoming a writer. She now lives in East Sussex.

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  1. This is your best book choice yet. I laughed reading your review. This author has a terrific sense of humor about a serious and irritating subject. I'll repeat, your site is just superb and full of fun looking stuff. It makes a person want to read it. We must talk soon.

  2. Hi Carma,
    What a great review. I am a little behind on your posts and have missed your great reviews.

    Congratulations on your award. Keep it up.