May 29, 2012
When I saw a tiny cover image of this book on the soon-to-be-released graphic novels list last year, I was skeptical. I figured the little bearded girl with the spotted knickers and plump little belly was just a gimmick, but eventually I looked up a blurb and learned this wasn’t the case.
Her name is Lula, and the book is all about what happens after she trades a lock of her beard to a witch for a rock that turns out to be an egg... which turns out to contain a hulking monster. Now, despite knowing this much, I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was curious enough to buy it. Lula, of course, lives and works in her grandpa’s circus, where all the other cast members (some authentic oddities and others pretty average) are quick to judge the beast Lula brings home. Meanwhile, what the witch does with the lock of Lula’s facial hair brings even bigger troubles to the circus.
Although the story itself is simple and accessible to a much younger crowd, I enjoyed the commentary on being happy with who you are and not compromising for anyone or anything. The exploration of inner beauty is none-too-subtle, but I was charmed by the fact that Lula really believed in it. It never crosses her mind that she’s not beautiful for a moment, and her attitude is, to me, what makes this book.
And how often does a girl with a beard get to be a heroine, really? Who knows why Powell thought of a story about a bearded girl, but it’s nice to see them out there in the entertainment industry a little more--and as characters, not props.