HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Mop Top
Author and Illustrator: Don Freeman
Publisher: Puffin Books, republished 1978
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 2 – 5
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Freeman, Don. Mop Top (published in 1955 by Puffin Books). This is a cute and charming story about a five-year-old boy with a mop-like head of carrot-red hair who never wants to get his hair cut. Everyone calls him Moppy. One day his mother tells him that he needs to get a haircut for his birthday party, gives him some money, and sends him to the barber. Along the way he sees that a shaggy dog, Mr. Lawson’s lawn, and even a droopy tree on the street all need trimming. But he decides that he doesn’t need a haircut and just can’t bring himself to go inside the barbershop. So he hides in the grocery store next door. How is Moppy convinced that maybe he should get a haircut after all? Does he go ahead and get one or not? And what is his real name anyway?
Don Freeman (1908-1978) was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including the beloved Corduroy, its sequel A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low. He ventured to New York City to study art under the tutelage of Joan Sloan and Harry Wickey at the Art Students’ League, eased into making a living sketching impressions of Broadway shows for The New York Times and The Herald Tribune, was introduced to the world of children’s literature when William Saroyan asked him to illustrate several books, and eventually began to write and illustrate his own books. When I took our younger son to get his first haircut, he hadn’t gotten his nap and became so upset and fussy while our older son was in the barber’s chair that I had to take him right home without getting the job done. Perhaps if we had had Mop Top to do as a read aloud beforehand, it might have helped.