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THE NEW SWEATER by Oliver Jeffers


From the Hueys series, volume 1

by Oliver Jeffers & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-25767-4
Publisher: Philomel

The clothes make the Huey in Jeffers’ picture-book ode to nonconformity.

In what promises to be the first in a series about the Hueys, little egg-shaped creatures with just lines for limbs, the cast of characters are indistinguishable from one another until a fellow named Rupert knits himself an orange sweater. The text plainly states that “most of the other Hueys were horrified!” when Huey strolls by in his jaunty new duds. And the subsequent line, “Rupert stood out like a sore thumb,” is delightfully understated, since his oval form wrapped up in an orange sweater looks rather sore-thumb–like. Then, another Huey named Gillespie decides that “being different was interesting,” and he knits himself a sweater just like Rupert’s. This gets the proverbial ball of yarn rolling, and, in scenes reminiscent of The Sneetches, soon many, many Hueys are knitting and donning identical orange sweaters in order to “be different too!”  In Jeffers’ expert hands, the message of respecting individuality comes through with a light touch as Rupert concludes the story by deciding to shake things up again as he dons a hat. “And that changed everything,” reads the closing text, with a page turn revealing a little parade of Hueys decked out in a broad array of different clothing, from feather boas to pirate hats.

A joyful take on a serious lesson. (Picture book. 3-6)