by Eun-hee Choung
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
I'm giving so many buds lately, I could be a florist. But I can't resist stories that celebrate girlhood with truly feminine flair. I think publishers are finally turning the page, so to speak, on the mini-amazons and boys-with-pigtails that passed as girl protagonists for so long. You don't need to climb trees or skin your knees for a great adventure, as Choung shows us in this charming peek at a girly girl's fantasy beauty parlor.
We first meet Minji peering into the salon. The story then alternates between the salon and Minji's home, where she's set up shop with watercolors instead of dyes and crayons for rollers--with the family dog as her customer. On the left-hand page is a woman getting her hair styled, on the right is Minji's colorful and messy mimicry.
Dressing up is a rite of passage for girls--witness the Fancy Nancy phenomenon--and Choung's playful take should win the heart of the little one marauding your closet. Choung, a South Korean, has a decidedly Eastern style to her art, with flat figures on a white background. The subdued hues get interrupted by wild splotches of color, especially where Minji's our focus--underscoring how much of a whirlwind she must be.