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Annotation: Sweety is a charming, mushroom-loving, totally awkward naked mole rat, looking for like-minded peeps who will like her for herself; and with the help of her cool Aunt Ruth, she eventually realizes that being herself is pretty awesome.
Genre: [Animal fiction]
Catalog Number: #178409
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-525-58000-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4058-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-525-58000-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4058-6
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018008799
Dimensions: 22 x 28 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A bespectacled naked mole rat stays true to her awkward self.By human standards, Zuill's anthropomorphized naked mole rats are all pretty weird-looking: unsettlingly humanlike; pinkish-white but with beady little eyes, pronounced snoots, and vacant smiles. It seems that there are hierarchies even among naked mole rats, however, and Sweety is somewhere toward the bottom. With Coke-bottle glasses and headgear over her buck teeth, Sweety "could be intense"; she loves mycology and interpretive dance, and she has a hard time making friends with the more popular naked mole rats. Refreshingly, this story doesn't follow a "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" plot, in which deviance is only acceptable if it's useful to others, nor is anyone particularly unkind to the strange mole-girl. Sweety's aunt Ruth informs her that "being different was one of the best things about her life, and that if you stayed true to yourself, you'd find your people." Sweety thinks a little about how to be more popular and considers different attention-getting tricks to find her people, but at the end she decides to "continue to do her favorite things, and be herself." Hilarious, slightly (and appropriately) off-putting pen-and-ink sketches (with an especially delightful spot of some goth adolescent mole rats) perfectly illustrate Sweety's uniqueness.This kind but snarky, winningly honest story about being a square peg is sure to appeal to misfits and queen bees alike. (Picture book. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
Zuill-s opening description of her eponymous protagonist has startling frankness: -Sweety was awkward. Even for a naked mole rat.- Indeed, Sweety seems designed to test the limits of readers- tolerance for eccentricities. Her prominent braces and spectacles make all the other anthropomorphized naked mole rats around her look downright mainstream; she misreads social cues and has passions that others find peculiar (-Would you like to come over to my house and help me identify fungi?- she asks another mole rat). But thanks to the unconditional affection and wise counsel of her Aunt Ruth, who was also a -square peg- growing up, Sweety has a nascent and increasingly firm belief that -being Sweety wasn-t so bad. In fact, it could be pretty awesome.- Readers who resonate with Sweety-s singularity may find their credulity initially tested, especially since Sweety-s peers are uncomprehending rather than thoughtless or cruel (her invitation to explore mycology is met with a puzzled but polite decline). But Zuill (Business Pig), who is fast becoming the bard of different-drummer types, effectively employs empathy, honesty, and an elegant ink line to persuade readers that everyone can find their people. Ages 3-7. Agent: Erzsi Deàk, Hen&ink Literary Studio. (Mar.)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Being yourself and being accepted often rest at opposite ends the social spectrum, especially for someone as unique as Sweety. Sweety is a naked mole rat, awkwardly outfitted with large round glasses, headgear attached to her two buckteeth, and an orange polka-dotted dress. Her enthusiasm can be off-putting, as can her hobbies (interpretive dance and identifying fungi). According to her grandmother, she's a "little square peg," but some days Sweety wishes she could fit in with her classmates. She feels happiest with her Aunt Ruth, another square peg, who tells Sweety that "if you stayed true to yourself, you'd find your people." Sweety takes this to heart, embracing her true, weird self and keeping her eyes peeled for her people pefully revealing themselves via secret handshake. Zuill takes a common theme nding the courage to be yourself d makes it funny, heartwarming, and inspiring. Her black-lined pen-and-ink illustrations are colored with minty green, peachy pink, buttercup yellow, and other cheerful shades that reflect Sweety's upbeat personality. Spot and full-page illustrations show her in glorious action rforming her book report in a magenta unitard, fawning over red-capped mushrooms th speech bubbles adding extra splashes of personality. While Mo Willems' Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (2009) is an obvious companion title, also try it with Susan Lendroth's Natsumi!? (2018).
Word Count: 592
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.1 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 505089 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD550L

An Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

From the author of WOLF CAMP comes the story of a charming, mushroom-loving, headgear-wearing, totally awkward naked mole rat who is looking for like-minded peeps.

Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat. She has protruding front teeth, thick glasses, and some very unusual hobbies, including interpretive dance and fungus identification. She's intense and passionate--and her peers don't always get her. But surely there are other mushroom lovers out there? As Sweety sets out to find them, she comes to realize--with a little help from her cool Aunt Ruth-- that being Sweety is actually pretty awesome. With heart and humor and a whole lot of charm, Andrea Zuill delivers a story about learning to embrace everything that makes you you--and that's something many kids are going to relate to.

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