Title: Stephanie's Ponytail
Author: Robert Munsch
Artist: Michael Martchenko
Genre: Humor / Bullying / Children's / Individuality
Year Published: 1996
Year Read: 1997 (Re Read: 2018)
Publisher: Annick Press Ltd.
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Themes of Bullying)
Now, I have actually read “Stephanie’s Ponytail” many years ago when I was a child and I had actually reviewed this book the first time around. But, now I wanted to reread this book to see if my feelings about this book has changed. It turns out, I felt the exact same way I did years ago (in other words, it STILL was an AWESOME book to read), but I wanted to change up my review to be in tuned with my recent book reviews!
One day, Stephanie decided to have a ponytail since all the other kids were not wearing ponytails. When Stephanie came to school, all the other kids teased her ponytail by saying:
“UGLY, UGLY, VERY UGLY!”
And Stephanie replied:
“IT’S MY PONYTAIL AND I LIKE IT!”
The next day, Stephanie comes to school to see that the other kids had copied her hairstyle by also wearing ponytails and this makes Stephanie angry since she wanted to have a unique look for herself. So, the next day, Stephanie decided to wear her ponytail sideways since that was a style that she thought that the other kids would not possibly wear. Of course, the other kids teased her about her hairstyle once again and then the next day, the other kids started wearing their ponytails to the side just like Stephanie. Each day Stephanie changes her hairstyle to stand out from the other kids and each day, the other kids and even some of the teachers continue to copy Stephanie’s hairstyle!
Will the other students continue copying Stephanie’s hairstyle or will Stephanie evenutally get back at them?
Read this book to find out!
Wow! When I started rereading this book, I thought that my opinions on this book would have changed over the years (it has been nearly ten years since I last read this book after all). But, lo and behold, I was pleasantly surprised that my opinions have remained the same after all of these years (in other words, OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE)! Robert Munsch has created a unique way of tackling the subjects of peer pressure and individuality through this story as Stephanie is shown constantly trying to find a style that would make her unique, which is her ponytail and standing up for her individuality when her classmates teased her about her ponytail. This book also made me questioned about why exactly Stephanie’s classmates teased Stephanie about her ponytail each day and yet, they copy her ponytail style every time she tries to change her hairstyle. I am assuming it is because Stephanie’s classmates are jealous of Stephanie’s individuality and they copy her to take away her individuality. Michael Martchenko’s artwork is extremely humorous as he depicts each character in a cartoony style that is reminiscent of the Sunday Paper comic strips. Michael Martchenko’s artwork of Stephanie is truly the highlight of the story as Stephanie is portrayed as a cute little girl that constantly styles her ponytail in a different way in each image and I loved the fact that she is shown wearing a 90s style type of clothing as it shows the audience how people used to dress like during the 90s (which is the very decade that I grew up in)!
Parents should know that Stephanie is shown to be a bit rude at some points of the story (which was a problem I had when I read this book the first time). Now, do not get me wrong, I understand how frustrated Stephanie is because she wanted to have a style that makes her unique, but her classmates keep on copying her styles, therefore taking away her individuality. If I was Stephanie, I would be upset too since I also pride myself on being unique and I would be annoyed too if people copy my styles just to poke fun at me. However, I do think that it was a bit rude for Stephanie to call her classmates “a bunch of brainless copycats,” even though they were purposely copying her styles, while still making fun of her. I personally think that Stephanie could have handled the situation much better than resort to calling her classmates names.
Overall, “Stephanie’s Ponytail” is a truly hilarious story about embracing your individuality in the most creative way possible and I am sure that many children will enjoy this book for many years to come! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the bullying themes possibly upsetting smaller children.
* 1999 Grand Canyon Reader Award for Picture Book
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