Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
by Courtney Sheinmel
In Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow Stella can't wait to try out the candy store's new Magical Glow-in-the-Dark Chewing Gum. But instead of granting wishes, the gum seems to bring Stella bad luck, including a VERY drastic haircut!
- Dewey: F
- Graphics: Full-color illustrations
- Hardcover (9781585361892): 160 pages, 5.5 (w) x 7.5 (h), © 2012, 04/01/2012
- Paperback (9781585361915): 160 pages, 5.5 (w) x 7.5 (h), © 2012, 04/01/2012
- PDF (9781410310484): 160 pages, 5.5 (w) x 7.5 (h), © 2012, 06/25/2012
- Hosted ebook (9781627535106): 160 pages, © 2014, 08/15/2013
- Series: Stella Batts
- Suggested Interest Level: Age 6 - Age 8
- Suggested Reading Level: Grade 3
- Lexile® Measure: 600
- Guided Reading Level: N
- ATOS Reading Level: 3.6
- ATOS Interest Level: LG
- Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 151162
- Accelerated Reader® Points: 2.0
A Review of Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Reviewed on 16 November 2012
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow is the second book in Courtney Sheinmel’s sweet series about Stella Batts. When their father brings home Magical Glow-in-the-Dark chewing gum for Stella and her sister Penny to taste-test, Stella is disappointed to realize that Penny can blow bubbles while she cannot. Deciding she can’t stand to be shown up, Stella sneaks some more gum after she is supposed to be in bed, and falls asleep with it still in her mouth. In the morning, she wakes up with gum in her hair! This is the first in a long line of disasters that befall Stella over the next few days, including using her sister’s hair a paintbrush and learning that her best friend is moving away.
I loved the first Stella Batts book, and I love this one even more. From the moment I started reading, I just fell into the world of the story, cringing whenever something went wrong for Stella and smiling during her moments of triumph. I see a lot of myself in Stella. I was a kid who liked to write and to make lists, and Stella does the same thing. The lists, especially, are a great asset to this book because they break down a lot of information – what happens when you get gum inyour hair, or the steps for making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich – into just a few manageable paragraphs. At times during this book, I was unsure that the conceit of Stella writing these books herself as part of her autobiography was really necessary, but Stella’s voice is strong either way, and I think kids like feeling like they’re privy to all of her innermost secrets.
I also think Courtney Sheinmel does a wonderful job of remembering what it’s like to be a kid and putting that worldview into her stories. The following is my favorite passage from the entire book, which describes Stella’s thoughts at bedtime:
Mom and Dad came in to say goodnight after a half hour. When they left, they turned out the lights and shut the door almost the whole way, but left it open just a little crack, because that’s the way I like it.
I don’t close my eyes right away. I wait until they’re used to the dark and I can see everything around my room. So I waited for a little while, and then my stuff came into focus: my desk with the mug from Disneyland that I use as a pencil holder, the desk chair that I picked out because it swivels around, the beanbag pillow in the corner that’s shaped like a Tootsie Roll, my bookcase will all my books in order from favorite to least favorite, and my dresser with all my clothes inside of it. (p28)
This scene goes on for a few more paragraphs until Stella spies her pack of gum in the dark and decides to chew just one more piece. What I love about it this part of the story is how much we learn about Stella in just a few sentences. We learn about the objects in her room, the way she organizes her books, and how she likes to fall asleep. Then, finally, the meat of the story begins when her eyes land on the pack of gum. This all happens seamlessly, and the reader doesn’t even consciously realize all that has just been introduced. Sheinmel is such an artful writer, she makes it look easy.
Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow reminds me a lot of Dessert First, the first book in Hallie Durand’s Dessert Schneider series, as well as of Ramona, who has her own hair-related issues in at least one of her books. These books also make more literary alternatives to things like the Mallory McDonald and Junie B. Jones series.
A Review of "Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" in Greatest Books for Kids
Reviewed on 1 October 2012
Stella Batts feels she is a very lucky girl. After all, it’s not every day you get to have parents who own a candy store and have their children as official taste-testers! So, when her Dad brings home his new magical gum, Stella and her younger sister can’t wait to try it out.
Unfortunately, the gum doesn’t seem to hold any magic for Stella except bad magic. First, a wad of gum gets stuck in Stella’s hair which prompts Stella to “fix” the situation by cutting her hair, which necessitates a professional cut that is quite short. This leads to the mean boy in school making Stella feel particularly unattractive. Then, to make matters worse, Stella’s best friend announces she will soon be moving with her family 3,000 miles away. Ugh!
Brimming with charm, realistic and often funny scenarios, and a spunky heroine that girls in particular will enjoy, this selection is sure to win high marks from readers.
A Review of "Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" in The Midwest Book Review
Reviewed on 1 June 2012
“Stella Batts: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” is a chapter book with immense appeal for kids age 7 and up, second in a series. Life starts out positive for Stella, child of candy store owners who gets to be an Official Batts Confections Taste-Tester. But after she goes to sleep testing magic, glow in the dark bubble gum, all that results is gum in her hair and a disastrous haircut that makes her look like a boy! To make things worse, she finds her best friend will be moving far across the country and her sister Penny loses her favorite stuffed animal named Belinda. Stella Batts is not a quitter, however, and her spunk comes to her rescue in more ways than one, even when problems baffle her. The good humor and resilience of character in this book bounces off the pages. Fast moving narrative is spiked with quirky black and white illustrations and real life frustrations and activities occur to these quite believable characters. Kids, especially girls will love Stella Batts as an unlikely heroine who cheerfully makes lemonade when life gives her lemons.
Author: Courtney Sheinmel
Courtney Sheinmel is a recovering attorney, chocolate-lover, mac and cheese expert, and the author of over a dozen highly celebrated books for kids and teens, including the young readers’ Stella Batts series, the middle grade Kindness Club series, and the young adult novel, Edgewater. In addition to writing, Courtney served as a judge on the national level for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and she received a National Scholastic Outstanding Educator Award for her work as a writing instructor at Writopia Lab, a non-profit organization serving kids ages 8 to 18. Courtney lives in New York City. You can find her on Twitter at @courtneywrites, on Instagram at courtneysheinmel, or on her website at www.courtneysheinmel.com.
Illustrator: Jennifer A. Bell
Jennifer A. Bell is a children's book and greeting card illustrator, and studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design. After several years of living in Minneapolis, she recently relocated to Toronto.