Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

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Annotation: In this celebration of barbershops, boys are transformed into something greater through the magic of a good haircut.
Catalog Number: #160058
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Illustrator: James, Gordon C.,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-572-84224-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1067-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-572-84224-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1067-1
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017020743
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Barnes (Ruby and the Booker Boys, 2008) playfully tells the story of a black boy getting a haircut at a barbershop. The boy comes in as a "blank canvas," but as the haircut starts, Barnes leads the reader into all the things that might happen because of the cut, from passing a geography test, to becoming a star, and even impressing a girl. The other men in the barbershop look important and full of swagger because of their hair, and the barber knows what he's doing and doles out shape-ups and a faux hawk with skill. Colorful images illustrate all of the patrons, including a woman. Barnes mixes fresh and sharp lines with an integral part of the African American experience: maintaining one's hair. Illustrator James deftly uses bright colors including teal and fuchsia, and a colorful galaxy complements Barnes' words well. The strong voice will resonate with readers, soothe any young child scared of their first cut, and give a boost of confidence to the seasoned pros.
Horn Book
The unnamed black protagonist tells of his barbershop haircut from start to finish, narrating most of it in the second person. James's color-saturated illustrations capture the boy's bravado, swagger, and even his humility, which he needs in accepting a post-cut kiss from his admiring mother. Alternately precise, metaphorical, and culturally specific, Barnes's descriptions make each page a serendipity. A not-to-be-missed portrayal of the beauty of black boyhood.
Publishers Weekly
How good can a haircut make a person feel? -Magnificent. Flawless. Like royalty.- In a powerfully moving tribute to barbershop culture, Barnes (We Could Be Brothers) addresses readers directly-and it-s safe to say his audience is primarily boys of color-using hyperbole to boost their confidence and help them recognize their own value. -You came in as a lump of clay,- he writes, -a blank canvas, a slab of marble./ But when my man is done with you,/ they-ll want to post you up in a museum.- Created with thick, forceful daubs of paint, James-s luminous portraits reinforce the idea that, when a person looks this good, not even the sky is the limit. Of a man admiring the curving designs newly shaved into his head, the narrator remarks, -Maybe there-s a river named after him on Mars. He looks that important.- Pride, confidence, and joy radiate from the pages, both in the black and brown faces of men, women, boys, and girls featured in Barnes-s majestic paintings, and in writing that celebrates human worth with every syllable. Barbers included: -Tip that man! Tip that man!- Ages 3-8. (Oct.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 3Rhythmic text describes the feeling of a young African American boy as he gets a "fresh cut" and how a trip to the barbershop changes the way he feels about the world and in turn how the world perceives him. He might just "smash that geography exam" or "rearrange the principal's honor roll" and, of course, the cute girl in class won't be able to keep her eyes off of him. The protagonist spends time looking at black men in chairs next to him and creating vivid stories about their lives: "the dude to the left of you with a faux-hawklooks presidentialmaybe he's the CEO of a tech company." Oil paintings illustrate the intricacies of the haircuts, details in the characters' faces, along with the sense of well-being that is conveyed along the way. While a trip the barbershop is the main story line, the themes of confidence-building, self-esteem, and joy of young black boys are the important takeaways, and the illustrations jump off the page and invite readers to share in the experience. VERDICT A super fun read-aloud, this title is a recommended purchase for all picture book collections.Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Safe to say, there's nothing like the feeling of the fresh cut. You feel so extra visible with a fresh new cut, and this book built from that experience translates it in a way never before brought to the children's bookshelf. Basquiat-inspired king insignias and a bit of Kehinde Wiley flair shape portraits of all the various ways men (and women too!) come into the black barbershop to restore their cool, leaving the chair with high self-esteem, self-pride, and confidence—if only for as long as their hairlines remain crisp. It's sacred. The all-important line and the diverse styles take center stage here. The Big Daddy Kane-homage flat-top. The part. The light shape-up surrounded by cornrows and locs. The taper. The classic wavy dark Caesar. Barnes' imaginative prose mirrors the hyperbole and swagger of the barbershop. No cut is just good. It will have you looking "presidential," "majestic." Like you own "a couple of acres of land on Saturn." The swagger is on a million. The sauce is drippin'. James' oil-based portraiture will send many readers reminiscing. This book oozes black cool and timely, much-needed black joy, using the unique and expansive experience of the barbershop to remind young boys that their inner lives have always mattered there. One of the best reads for young black boys in years, it should be in every library, media center, and, yes, barbershop. (Picture book. 5-12)
Word Count: 683
Reading Level: 3.8
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 194442 / grade: Lower Grades

Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers A Newbery Honor Book A Caldecott Honor Book A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book A Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book An Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Book An Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor Book A Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Book Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, the Huffington Post , Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Reviews , the Los Angeles Times , the Boston Globe , the Horn Book Magazine , the News & Observer , BookPage , Chicago Public Library, and more The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother's hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. A fresh cut makes boys fly . This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber's chair--a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That's where it all begins. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.


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