On Mustache!

Our culture has a strange obsession with facial hair. Mustaches are popping up everywhere! I’ve seen necklaces, erasers, even this somewhat disturbing pacifier…and it’s not just mustaches. I have friends who are growing out Grizzly Adams type beards with way too much enthusiasm, and then there’s this crazy bearded fellow that keeps showing up on my facebook page. Ewww. What is it about facial hair that is so fascinating to us? A quick trip on google informed me that men have been taking a sort of weird pride in their facial hair for generations…dating all the way back to Victorian times. And even more interesting is the history of defacing pictures with the addition facial hair, most famously done by Marcel Duchamp in his piece, L.H.O.O.Q., which depicts the Mona Lisa with a mustache and goatee. There is no denying it…there is just something about facial hair which makes us stop and take notice. Sometimes we draw back in horror, other times we giggle, but it certainly gets our attention. It’s no wonder then, that I was drawn in by the cover and title of this week’s chuckle-worthy selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday.



  • Written By: Mac Barnett
  • Illustrated By: Kevin Cornell
  • Published By: Hyperion Books (October 25, 2011)
  • Suitable For: Ages 4-8
  • Topics/Themes: Selfishness, Vanity, Compassion, Making good choices, Learning to laugh at yourself
  • Opening: “Duncan was a terrible king, but he was terribly handsome.”
  • Synopsis:  (from Amazon) King Duncan is terribly handsome, but a terrible king. His kingdom is in ruins, and when his subjects appeal for help, he only builds more tributes to his handsome face. His subjects are finally ready to stand up for themselves, and they have just the plan to get out of this hairy situation.
  • Resources: So after I spent a couple of hours preparing this post and getting completely sucked into the history of facial hair (seriously! fascinating.), I did a search for resources and discovered that this book had already been covered in the Perfect Picture Book Friday family. Oops. Because I took a little hiatus from PPBF in November and December, I missed it, but the lovely Penny wrote a great review and I encourage you to head over to Penny and Her Jots for a little bonus take on MUSTACHE! She has some great ideas for activities to go along with this book. In addition to those, I would encourage you to go through the book with your kids and find the places where King Duncan had an opportunity to make a better choice but didn’t. I did that with mine, and after we found those places we talked about what it means to have compassion, and put the needs of others before yourself. And extra points if you have these conversations while wearing a homemade mustache!
  • Why I Like this Book: This book clearly falls into the category of majorly silly fun. The illustrations are hilarious and there are lots of hidden treats in them if you pay attention. But one thing I really love about this book is that it has a pretty clear message that is not delivered in a heavy-handed way. It is quite obvious from the beginning that King Duncan is the example to avoid. He is a terribly self-centered king, but in a sort of clueless way that is just the tiniest bit endearing. When the townspeople finally start to act out and get his attention, he is completely baffled by their actions and makes a series of even worse (and of course, funny) decisions. The best part really is the end, when we get to see a smidge of change from the dopey king. I don’t want to give it all away, but let’s just say that King Duncan learns to not take himself so seriously. Love this book!

Don’t forget to head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and check out the other fabulous selections for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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  • http://4ambassadorsofchrist.blogspot.com/ Jarmila V. Del Boccio

    What a fascinatingly fun book, Amy! I never knew there was a history behind facial hair. Thanks for enlightening us….

    • http://amydixonbooks.com/ Amy Dixon

       You learn something new every day, right Jarm? :-) I really didn’t know there was so much to learn about it! Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://susannahill.blogspot.com/ Susanna Leonard Hill

    First Penny, now you Amy – if the two of you love this book so much I’m seriously going to have to read it!  It sound hilarious, and I love the concept of a book that encourages kids and parents to talk about good decision-making.  My personal feeling on facial hair is don’t do it!  Especially a beard… what with food particles… eew :)  But I suppose if you lived in a very cold place it could help keep your face warm… :)  Thanks for sharing this one, and so glad you joined us for PPBF today :)

    • http://amydixonbooks.com/ Amy Dixon

       Ha Susanna, I am personally against facial hair, too. My husband had a goatee for years and I like it so much better since he’s been without it. Too scratchy! Glad to be back with the PPBF family!

  • Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Are the hidden treats stuck in the facial hair? Hope not, but I’m sold!

    • http://amydixonbooks.com/ Amy Dixon

       lol, that cracked me up, Julie! no, nothing stuck in the facial hair, but perhaps you just landed on a gem of a story idea???

  • Tiltonph

    What an hilarious book.  Very silly show of vanity.  The cover is so bold and gets the point across.  Kids will like this.
    Amy I’ve written a review of your book, but since it has been on PPBF, will run during the week some time in late January or early February.  Loved it and gave it to my granddaughter for Christmas!

    • http://amydixonbooks.com/ Amy Dixon

       Wow, Pat! That is so great, I am glad you liked Marathon Mouse and hope your granddaughter likes it too! Can’t wait to read your review, thanks so much for thinking of me!

  • Janet Smart

    Love the cover. This sounds like a very funny book, I love humorous picture books. 

    • http://amydixonbooks.com/ Amy Dixon

       If you like funny, you will love this book!

  • http://storypatch.wordpress.com/ Carrie Finison

    We read this last summer/fall and both my kids asked for it over and over. It is so funny! Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://amydixonbooks.com/ Amy Dixon

      My kids have been fighting over it here, too! That’s always a good sign :-)

  • patientdreamer

    Oh yes, I remember this one…lol.  Very funny.  My hubby has a mustache.  Only once did he shave it off when we were first going out.  He looked terrible without it, so hes always had one.   Funny, while I am typing this there is a talk back show on my tv, on facial hair….lol.  How weird!

  • Laura Renauld

    I’m judging this book by its cover and it looks hysterical!  On to my library list it goes :)

  • Hannah Holt

    This sounds just plain awesome! I have never liked mustaches but I’d make an exception for this book.

  • pennyklostermann

    Nice review, Amy! I’m all for the “majorly silly fun”! Thanks for linking back!