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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion, HB Fenn. 2009. $18.99 ages 5 and up

"There is so much to learn about the fascinating little creatures known as naked mole rats. But, for this story, you only need to know three things: 1. They are a little bit rat. 2. They are a little bit mole. 3. They are all naked."

Not really...Wilbur is not naked, and he doesn't want to be. He marches to the beat of a different drummer and has no desire to be the same as every other naked mole rat. He loves clothes...their versatility and everything else about them. He loves being clothed and he doesn't understand why the rule is no clothes. The other mole rats will not let him be. They finally complain to Grand-pah who looks so noble and capable without clothing. And he makes a startling announcement after hearing the simple question....why not? One mole rat can make a difference!

Mo Willems' humor can be quite absurd; but kids love it and they love his stories. You know the ones who will love this best...any little one who snickers whenever the word 'naked' is said aloud will absolutely be in hysterics with the idea. And what about the rebels in the classroom? There are always those who don't want to be 'the same' as their classmates. They will appreciate Naked Mole Rat's stand against nudity and for being clothed. Take a close look at the characters and see how this talented and humorous artist can use minor changes in line to create new expressions and responses and note all the white space he leaves in order for the reader to focus on what is important to the story. Kids love hearing this and I love reading it!

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