Author/illustrator team Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett are best known for writing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (recently made into a motion picture). I hadn't run across their book Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing until Baby Bookworm received it as a birthday gift from a very dear friend. And oh my goodness, this book is hilarious. Just about every page had me giggling aloud.
The cover image, of a porcupine wearing a quill-torn outfit, sets the stage. Each page spread displays a different animal, with a corresponding reason why that animal really, definitely, shouldn't wear clothes. For example:
"because a giraffe might look sort of silly" (Picture of a giraffe wearing seven ties spread out along its long neck)
and my personal favorite:
"because it might make life hard for a hen" (Picture of a hen wearing pants, and attempting to lay an egg. Get the book. It will make you laugh. I promise).
Judi Barrett's text is brief and to the point. It's really the juxtaposition of the text with the ludicrous illustrations that make the book so giggle-inducing. The sweating sheep in a sweater, hat, and scarf, tongue hanging out of mouth, is unforgettable. Apart from the clothing, Ron Barrett draws the animals straight up, with detailed, realistic sketches, and mostly patient expressions. This is what makes the contrast with the ridiculous clothing work so well.
Baby Bookworm isn't old enough to appreciate the humor of this book yet, but I'll be reading it to her anyway, because I find it so entertaining. Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing is going on my mental list of books to give as gifts, which is pretty much my highest form of praise for picture books. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Atheneum (@SimonSchuster)
Publication Date: 1970
Source of Book: A birthday gift for Baby Bookworm
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.