Mary’s Hair by Eoin Colfer

I don’t know about you, but my hair is rubbish. I’m one of those people who will always look slightly scruffy no matter what I do, and my hair contributes to this a fair bit. It’s flyaway, fine and choppy, and I often look like I’ve had a close encounter with a hedge unless I tame the whole bundle with a hairband or two and great dollops of mousse. Oh, and it’s green. Well, mostly green anyway.

That said, I can sympathise with this next character…

Mary's Hair

Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 9781781122266
Published: 8/2/2013

Mary hates her hair. It’s curly, it’s bushy, it’s straight – in fact it’s everything but well-behaved. Mary wants hair like all the other girls have, with their neat blonde plaits and pigtails. So, she decides to give herself a snazzy new haircut when her Mammy’s not looking. A few minutes, some scissors, a pair of goggles, a lot of gel and some stunning hairdressing skills later, and Mary looks fantastic. But what will happen when the gel starts to dry?

This made me laugh so much. Mary is utterly charming, from her lopsided fringe (it’s alright, she just has to tilt her head a little and it looks ok) to her new plan to dye her hair when the haircut meets with predictable results. If you’d like to know, she decides in the wake of such disaster she should try dyeing out on someone else first. . However, when you ask for volunteers and they all run away, Mary glumly concludes that that ‘..usually means no’. In fact, later events in the book prompted me to have to grab it up off the bed and read aloud various bits of it to my friend when she poked her head round the door to ask what I was cackling about.

It’s got a nice little moral note to it too when Mary makes friends temporaily with snotty boy Noely after her firends refuse to help with her dyeing experiment. Noely shows her what it is to be a proper friend, and it’s all done rather neatly (and with some marvellous illustrations from Richard Watson – that dog kills me).

Nattily in this edition the cover opens up into flaps, with a Spot The Difference inside the front half and a Draw Mary’s Hair activity on the back.If  I ever get a chance to I may well be using the Draw Mary’s Hair activity with a class. Or I might just try it myself because you’re never too old for colouring.

All in all, it’s utterly charming and a right little giggle too. I loved Mary, so much so that since I received it two days ago I’ve read it through 3 times. True it’s only a skinny little book but I don’t care, I adore it so.

Oh, and for those with eagle eyes, this is of course a Barrington Stoke title which means it’s been cosmetically tweaked to make it a bit easier for dyslexic readers to read too. If you’re interested, it’s a RA of 6, IA of 5-8. If you’re not dyslexic read it anyway, it’s just plain good fun!

Thank you so much to Barrington Stoke for my copy – happy dances all round that morning. Find it here



  • What a hilarious book and I never knew about Barrington Stoke books being dyslexia friendly. That is enough to make me want to read this book. Is this the same author who writes the Artemis Foul. How hillarious, and quite a different book to his usual if so. Thanks so much for linking it in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop, cheers Julie

    • It is, yes! Barrington Stoke specialise in recognisable author names and their stories in a format that just happens to be more dyslexic-friendly than regular pb’s. If you go on their website you can find sample pages.
      It never fails to amaze me how complex the stories can be too – there’s the assumption that because they’re shorter and have been tweaked they won’t have the same impact as longer stories but some like Moose Baby by Meg Rosoff or Brock (review coming soon) by Anthony McGowan are just blow-your-socks-off. I genuinely don’t see any reason they couldn’t be used as non-dyslexic class or discussion books. Mary’s Hair though is just plain FUN 😀 I grin just thinking about it!
      Glad you liked!

  • I’m sure lots of little girls (and boys) can relate to Mary! It sounds hilarious. I didn’t realize that Barrington Stoke publisehd dyslexia-friendly books. I’m really intrigued by this. Thanks for joining us in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. So glad you joined us this week and I hope you’ll join us again. I’m now following you via Twitter. Cheers!

  • Great review. It looks like a fun read for DD who is also obsessed with her hair :)) Thanks for sharing on the blog hop!

  • Mary sounds delightful! My sister is 29, but I think she will really want to read this little gal’s hair adventures. Thanks so much for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

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