Flowman and the Magic Mullet

29 September 2021

Flowman and the Magic Mullet
Written by Konn and Emily Hawkes, Illustrated by Emily Hawkes
Published by Emily Hawkes
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$23.95 (Hardcover) ISBN 9-781777-641726

Flowman and the Magic Mullet: the title’s enough to signal readers that this is going to be a gas. Who doesn’t chuckle at the mention of a mullet? And the long-flowing locks, large eyes and toothy smile of the slapshot-shooting hockey player on the cover make me curious … what kind of hijinks is this mullet-rocking athlete going to get up to?

This illustrated children’s book is the entertaining result of a team effort between Watrous, SK farmer and hockey player Konn Hawkes and his artistic wife, Emily. The tale concerns superstar hockey player Greg “The Hair” Flowman and his famous mullet—“His teammates loved it, his fans adored it”—and what happens when “his magic mullet suddenly disappears overnight.”

The story begins with our athletic, comically-drawn protagonist “Scoring point after point” in his blue, #21 hockey sweater and matching blue helmet. The text rhymes or off-rhymes, and I’m pleased at the outset to read an original simile: “He moves on the ice like a cheetah on skates.” As the story progresses, we learn that Flowman’s the captain of his Calgary team, and the humour keeps building: “His lettuce is fresh and the ladies they all stare. His name is Greg Flowman … they call him, “The Hair.”” But one person is not a fan of Greg’s mullet: his mother. “She’s tried to cut Greg’s hair countless times in the past. He always runs away. That kid is shifty, and he’s fast.”

The illustrator shows Flowman primping his long locks in the colourful bathroom, “with mousse and gel and other products. He looked in the mirror and said, “What a fox!”” I look at the details in the illustration: the yellow dots in the window that represent a starry night; the brush with “Hockey Hair” inscribed on it; the mess of hair product sliding over the bowl of the sink. Discovering these supplemental visual details really adds to the pleasure of reading this comical story, ie: in the garage, where Flowman shoots pucks against the wall “as he watched in the mirror,” we also see tools nicely organized on a pegboard, and note that bowling, football and basketball are also popular among this family. I see that one of Flowman’s teammates is (realistically) missing an important tooth!

It’s not giving away too much to say that Flowman’s mother does manage to snip off his locks, and though he fears he’s lost his scoring mojo because of this, he grows his hair back even longer than before. Then, just when he’s at the top of his game—“His speed was supersonic; his skills were so sick”—something unexpected happens. You’ll have to read the book to find out what brings Flowman down, and who sets him straight on his skates—and in his life—again.

This satisfying story follows the main character from childhood through to adulthood, and there’s a hilarious, hair-related twist on the last page. Readers—hockey fans or not—will get a kick out of this high-scoring story.


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