Mustache Baby builds upon a cute visual gag with a grand display of wit and verve. When Baby Billy is born, his parents are surprised to find a fully-grown mustache adorning his upper lip. The nurse informs them, "You'll just have to wait and see whether it is a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache."
This allows author Bridget Heos and illustrator Joy Ang to run wild, spitballing countless mustache styles for Billy to try out. Like a chameleon, he shifts between personalities with every new look.
Billy starts as a heroic cowboy and goes through several phases, including a circus ringmaster and a Spanish painter. He eventually finds his place, to the dismay of his older siblings, as a sunglass-wearing, badge-wielding, no-nonsense man of the law.
When Billy's nose tickler begins to curl up at each end, his parents find Billy veering towards a hideous life of mustachioed crime. He dabbles in cat burglary before setting his sight on train robbing in his preschool playroom. He even steals the tracks!
Heos and Ang keep the book from becoming a single joke stretched to its breaking point by combining inventive ideas and delightfully exaggerated drawings. I love the shot of Billy in his crib, counting his time locked up by making hash marks in his Etch-a-Sketch.
Heos also includes some nice vocabulary and subtle wordplay throughout the story, giving the book an extra boost of humor and re-read value.
Billy's mustache adventure ends happily with a clever twist at the end, and there are more picture books for fans of facial hair. Mustache lovers can get their fuzzy fix on with other picture books such as Mustache! by Mac Barnett, and Mo's Mustache, by Ben Clanton.
With so many mustache books out there, your children will be well-versed in the mysterious ways of mustaches...before they try to grow their own!