Did you know Queen Elizabeth of England had her horses’ tails dyed to match her own red hair? Have you heard that men tried cleaning their wigs by baking them inside loaves of bread? Classical music was once called “longhaired” music because of how the composers and musicians had unfashionable hair. All sorts of animal waste was used to try and encourage hair to grow. Some people even put live birds in their hair!
With Big Wig author Kathleen Krull has created a nonfiction picture book filled with wild and wacky facts. The more disgusting facts about hair and how it was treated are sure to appeal to upper elementary students. Many of the issues behind these hair styles, such as revolutions, popular movements and class conflict make this a good selection for older students as well. The back of the book includes ‘hair extensions’ that go into more detail about the different historical times. I laughed to read that George Washington gave people who wanted locks of his hair strands from his horses instead.