Some books make me chuckle. Some make me chuckle over a period of years. Judi Barrett’s Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing is one of those. In the unlikely event that you are a preschool or primary teacher who is not already familiar with this book, it is time you became acquainted. If you know the book, this is just a reminder that Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing is one of the books that cries out to be expanded in creative ways—and this busy holiday time of the year might be just the time to do it.
Barrett has already noted the disastrous effects when clothing is worn by porcupines, snakes, and camels. But what of all the earth’s other creatures? Consider all that might go wrong with clothing worn by an ant, a tiger, an alligator, or an owl. Picture a new class book with a different animal problem imagined by each student. Or, alternatively, how might students make an argument that certain types of clothing might be good for particular animals? Might it make a difference where the animal lives?
I don’t know about you, but in my early-elementary teaching days, when my students’ energy level seemed particularly high, a project that harnessed their high-flying imagination could be just the thing. Perhaps Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing might help you do that. In the meantime, if you’d like to catch the exuberance of a 5-year-old enjoying the book, take a look at the version below. There are a number of read aloud versions on YouTube, but none with commentary quite like this!