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Stephanie's Ponytail (Munsch for Kids) Paperback – May 1, 1996 by Robert Munsch (Author)

My daughter goes to a school where girls are not allowed to wear pants but boys can. We raised the issue with the school board and the matter will be taken under advisement, so hopefully the policy gets changed for next school year. In the meantime, we were told by the principal that nobody would be punished for wearing pants to school when it is cold, so my daughter has elected to wear pants instead of her jumper some days this winter. Well one day a boy in her class teased her that she was in fact a boy because she dressed like one at school. She said she told him that girls wear pants too and to just look at their teacher (who is female and, ironically, wears pants almost daily). When she told me about it, I asked her if his comment made her feel like not wearing pants and just wearing the jumper to school and she replied, "No! Not when it’s cold. I like wearing pants. " We had a discussion about how important it is to be yourself even if others make fun of you for it. After that discussion, I came to amazon looking for books that illustrated the lesson about nonconformity. Stephanie’s Ponytail is a lighthearted and fun book that does just that. Stephanie asks her mom to style her ponytail in various ways. Each time everybody at school teases her about her new ponytail, but when Stephanie continues to wear it that way and feel confident, they start to copy her and change their hairdos to be like her. Stephanie gets the last laugh at the end of the book, and my daughter laughed right along with her. This is a good book if you are looking for books to help build your child’s confidence and self esteem. Check it out!

From School Library Journal Grade 1-3-“Ugly, ugly, very ugly,” decrees the class when Stephanie arrives in school with a ponytail. But the next day, all the girls have ponytails, too. Dismayed and disgusted by these copycats, Stephanie has her Mom move her ponytail to one side with the same results. After wearing it top and front as well, Stephanie confronts the class with her final act of defiance-she announces that she’s going to shave her head! Next day, her teacher and classmates are bald as billiard balls and Stephanie? Why, she’s chased from the classroom with her very ordinary ponytail flying out behind her. Munsch lampoons the slavish conformity of kids while applauding Stephanie’s courage and audacity in this thinly disguised paean to individualism. The cumulative text and progressively more unusual hairstyles will appeal to young readers, and the turnabout ending is satisfying if not surprising. Students of all genders, races, body types, and ages are equally subject to ridicule. The blatant hostility to Stephanie’s creative coiffures is never explained, however, and her unholy glee when escaping the rampaging mob of bald classmates borders on malicious. The text is presented opposite the full-page watercolor illustrations that are suitably cartoonish and silly. Independent readers will notice the funny details, such as pets with ponytails. While too small for use with large groups, this book could spark a lively discussion if read aloud. Predictable, irreverent Munsch.Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Stephanie’s Ponytail (Munsch for Kids) Paperback – May 1, 1996 by Robert Munsch (Author) Review

I was stunned to find that this book is only about 4" large. I mean it’s no bigger than my hand. I am learning to read descriptions more carefully, for sure. It’s an adorable story, great lesson about stepping out and trying to be yourself. Funny ending. If you want the full size (normal size) book, this is not the one. This one will fit in your purse, maybe even your wallet. -Read Reviews-

I wish I could give this book negative stars. It is horrible. It’s mean. I want children to feel good about themselves for being themselves, not for being nasty to other kids. The protagonist taunts the other kids (after being mocked herself), telling them that they are stupid and brainless. And then the happy, triumphant ending is when she gets everyone to shave their heads so that they feel sad and ridiculed. I will never teach my child to feel better about him or herself by putting others down.

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