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.
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.