Monday, March 4, 2019

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing - Judi Barrett (Illus. Ron Barrett)

Summary:  In Ron and Judi Barrett's world, pigs, sheep, and other animals don sweaters, shirts, and hats, and young readers are invited to take a peek.

Why shouldn't animals wear clothes? Brightly colored, humorous illustrations that accompany the brief, large-print text reveal just why not. Eating out of a trough while sporting a crisp white shirt and neatly-knotted tie makes things "very messy" for a pig; a sheep wearing a heavy muffler, sweater, and hat over his heavy white fur "might find it terribly hot."

The text and illustrations allow readers to easily understand and interpret what's happening in the book and will prompt discussions about why animals are content to live in their own ready-made clothing — fur, prickles, or blubber, to name just a few. This book's unique and original approach will help emerging readers understand why animals and humans are different in a lighthearted manner, and it is sure to be read again and again.  (Summary and image from, additional image from Simon & Schuster)

My Review: My kindergartner won Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing in a prize-drawing at her elementary school.  When she brought it home I was absolutely thrilled.  Judi and Ron Barrett (the author and illustrator) are the creators of my favorite children's book, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its slightly less delightful (but still pretty darn cool) sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh.  Both books are incredibly imaginative with a unique illustrative style that compels you to examine each page.  I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but even though this book was originally published in 1970, I had no idea it existed until my daughter waved it in my face.  Hence, my excitement.

The basic gist of Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing should be pretty darn obvious, but the hilarious illustrations are what make the book memorable.  Each page showcases an animal meets fashion disaster...

  • A porcupine with quills poking through its pink polka dot dress
  • A camel with hats on its humps
  • A snake slithering straight out of its britches
  • A mouse stuck under a hat
  • A sheep sweltering in a sweater
  • A pig eating slop in his Sunday best
  • A chicken with an egg stuck in its pants
  • A kangaroo with way too many pockets
  • A giraffe with way too many neckties
  • A billy goat making a meal of his mufti
  • A walrus in a sopping wet wardrobe
  • A moose tangle up in his suspenders
  • An opossum dressed upside down
  • An elephant in an embarrassing situation 
Here's a little example of what I mean...

Can we talk about how funny a chicken looks with an egg stuck in its pants?  Hysterical.  And quite controversial for the time it was originally published, I think.  

Each fashion faux pas had my little one in stitches and while only a handful of words went with each illustration, she insisted on carefully studying each page.  This was fine by me, as I just love Ron's particular method of drawing.  I could look at it for ages.  While Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing didn't have a story line to chew on like the aforementioned Cloudy or Pickles, it still made for a great bedtime or anytime book.  I'll definitely be keeping it around. 

In looking for a cover image for this book, I found that there is actually another one along the same vein called Lot More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing.  I look forward to the encounter. 

My Rating: 4.25 Stars.  It's not Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  But its pretty darn cute.

For the sensitive reader:  Many different animals wear many types of clothes.  They stay clear of the undergarment issue (I was SURE there was going to be a bra on a camel, but there wasn't) so unless you're offended by a chicken laying an egg in its pants you should be fine.   

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