Crocodile. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781623718640.
PreS-Gr 1–It’s hard for eight-year-old Wanda to remember that Mama calls her hair a crown when Sizwe and Thula tease her on the bus and even her teacher demands that she change her “cloud” to a style that’s “neat and clean.” After another stressful day at school, she arrives home tearful and dejected. Fortunately, her grandmother is there with encouragement and practical help. First, she shows Wanda pictures of glamorous Black women with a variety of hairstyles. Then she uses a special comb and styling techniques on Wanda’s hair. Even Sizwe and Thula admit that the results make her look like a queen. Wanda and most of her classmates are Black, but her teacher is shown only in shadow. The colorful illustrations not only depict the story’s events but also express Wanda’s shifting thoughts and emotions that affect her self-image. The back matter explains “Intombi mayizithembe”—an African proverb that means, “A young girl must always remain confident.”
VERDICT Originally published in South Africa, this book offers an international perspective on acceptance and celebration of different kinds of beauty that could complement similar titles in all collections.

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