Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed is the latest by six time Emmy award winning former writer for Sesame Street, Mo Willems. Our hero here is Wilbur, a naked mole rat, who is very strange, in that he doesn’t like to be naked. Wilbur loves clothes so much he opens his own fashion boutique, much to the chagrin of his fellow naked mole rats, who immediately report him to Grand-pah “the oldest, greatest, and most naked naked mole rat ever.” How will he judge this effrontery? Find out in Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed!
Who is Melvin Bubble by Nick Bruel is a very clever book that might help introduce your child to the concepts of identity and perspective. Melvin Bubble appears to be a regular kid. But who is he really? If you ask his dad, he’ll say he’s a chip off the old block! If you ask his mom, she’ll ramble on about his messy room. If you ask his friend Jimmy, he’ll say Melvin is the coolest ever because he can whistle through his nose! But don’t stop there–ask his dog: “Woof Woof Arf Woof,” ask his teddy bear: “He really likes hugs!” Ask a talking zebra, or a magic rock, or even Melvin himself. They’ll all have something different to say. Because a person can be significant for multiple reasons, and everyone has a unique opinion.
You might be surprised how much you and your child can learn if you read Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta. It was shocking to me just how much we take for granted today that is owed to this founding father. We all know about his experiments with electricity, his role in the development of the U.S. Constitution, bifocals, etc. But did you know that Franklin organized the first public library, hospital, post office, and fire department? Did you know he was the creator of the first political cartoon? Did you know he suggested the idea of daylight saving time more than a hundred years before it was implemented? He was a truly inventive guy whose contributions continue to shape our society.
Cat & Mouse by Ian Schoenherr was one of my favorite books last year, but it kicked up a bit of controversy among my colleagues in the children’s librarian community (and what a community it is! I’m so proud to be a member). Schoenherr adapts a few well-known nursery rhymes, “I Love My Little Kitty,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” and “Eeny Meeny Miney Mo,” into a Tom-and-Jerry-esque romp between a saucer-eyed cat and an acrobatic mouse, natural enemies who turn out to be best friends in the end. The illustrations are strikingly detailed. I think they’re just gorgeous! But you may want to have a discussion with your child about the proper way to treat animals, before and after you read it (some might say the mouse is a little malicious).
Love the Baby by Steven L. Layne, with pictures by Ard Hoyt, is the tale of one bunny’s transition to big brotherhood. He’s very happy when mom and dad come home with the new baby, but not for long. Soon mom is rocking the baby in his chair! Nana is singing the baby his song! Dad is building a tower for baby with his blocks! And everywhere he goes people are asking him to help love the baby. So he pretends to love the baby. He’ll tickle him, but not on the tummy. He’ll read to him, but not from his favorite book. Until one day he’s tired of pretending he’s not jealous of all the attention the new baby is getting, and runs up to his room. But that night, the baby is crying, and when big brother goes to comfort him, he realizes he really does love the baby!
The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria is a fascinating story published partly in braille. A boy named Thomas describes the world around him in terms of what he feels, smells, hears, and tastes. People who are sighted tend to take visions of simple things like fruit or rain for granted, but with this book one can imagine what it’s like to be blind. The pages of black drawings on black paper can serve as a gateway to discussing tolerance for people with disabilities with your child.