Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bugs in My Hair! 
By David Shannon

David Shannon adds his unique and special brand of humor (that readers absolutely love!) to this narrative nonfiction on the (yucky) topic of head lice!  

This book would be a great mentor text for an informational writing unit of study for lower and upper grades.  Shannon uses many craft moves that could be easily emulated by student writers: humor about a difficult situation, different types and sizes of font for emphasis of important facts, enlarged illustrations that humorously personify and magnify the head lice---to name a few!

Book Talk
The narrator of the story takes readers through his week long journey when his mother discovers he has head lice! 

A favorite line: “Other people thought they had lice even when they didn’t. Just talking about bugs made my mom itchy. Her problem wasn’t on her head, it was in her head!” (An amusing illustration is on this page!)

Woven into the narrative are interesting facts about lice-what their eggs are called, that they really suck blood, their actual size (very tiny), where one can catch lice (not from a dog), different cures that work and some that are a bit silly (putting mayonnaise on one’s hair—this has a hilarious illustration), etc.

Another favorite line: “I heard about lots of cures. Shave my head. BOMB the BUGS with the strongest chemicals known to man. Mayonnaise. They all sounded AWFUL!”

Once the mom and son get over their shame of having head lice, Mom declares war on the insects and is determined that her son will be lice-and-nit free.  After Mom uses her nit-comb and stinky stuff as well as take him to a professional-they think he is rid of the lice—yet they show up again!  One final treatment did it and the lice were finally eliminated.

The last page comically illustrates the narrator's final battle plan for combating lice!

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Informational / Narrative Nonfiction    Also: Comedy / Humor
Reading Workshop Strategies: Search for and Use Information, Visualizing, Connecting, Summarizing,
Writing Workshop Genres and Strategies: Informational Writing, Strong Lead, Humor in text, illustrations
Curricular Themes: Insects, Hygiene and Prevention

David Shannon’s website:

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