Jan 23, 2011

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Book Review: Mo Willems’ “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed”

Book Review: Mo Willems’ “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed”

If you have young children, chances are you’ve come across Mo Willems’ books at some point. There is his Pigeon series (including Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus!), the Elephant and Piggie series (including my personal favorite, I am Invited to a Party!), and the Knuffle Bunny series, which are all fabulous. Willems has a newer book out as well, called Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, and it may now be my favorite.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed is about a naked mole rat who does the unthinkable: gets dressed (gasp!!). When he does, he causes a ruckus among the other naked mole rats who demand to know why he wants to get dressed. Naked Mole Rat responds with a question that shocks the other mole rats: “Why not?”

Given that the mole rats in their community have never worn clothes, including their esteemed grandfather, the mole rats cannot believe the audacity of Naked Mole Rat to wear clothes. They bring him before their brave grandfather and demand he deal with the indiscretion.

But the grandfather responds by being moved by Naked Mole Rat’s question (“Why not, indeed?” he asks), and then proceeds to get dressed himself. This inspires the other mole rats to do as they, personally, wish. Some get dressed (in various personalized get-ups), some do not, but all, we are assured by Willems, have fun.

While reading this book, it’s easy to think that this may be an allegory for other things– what other things does our own society shy away from doing simply because they haven’t been done before, when a simple, “Why not?” might change the picture entirely?

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed inspires thought, creativity, and can help teach kids to follow their own path. Personally, I’m not sure there’s much more I could hope for from a bedtime story!

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