The Life and Times of Fuzzy Wuzzy

December 14, 2020
Subheader: 

Live your fuzziest life.

Review: 

This book takes the tongue twister -- which I didn't even know was a tongue twister until I looked it up -- uh that a lot of people have heard: "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?" And kind of continues it on with the poem, using that as a framing stanza. It talks about Fuzzy and his wife, and his kids, and how nice he was to people and how he liked to travel and look at the stars. The rhymes are decent. Some of them seem forced, like "Fuzzy danced from dawn till dusk/Holding on to an elephant's tusk". What? Why an elephant's tusk, except that it rhymes with "dusk" and "dusk" is hard to rhyme? Why didn't he use a different phrase? Failing that, why was it important to the description of this character that he liked to dance, except for the weird play on words with "letting down his nonexistent hair"?

The illustrations are in a quite pretty watercolor style, although I felt the main character, Fuzzy, was depicted with kind of a pale brown skin. While that may be more accurate, I felt it didn't offer enough contrast to notice a difference between Fuzzy and the bears with hair. He just looked like he had a different shade of fur since all the characters had smooth surfaces. I would have gone for a less accurate pale pink or something similar.

I think the reason that the original rhyme has the staying power it does (having been around at least since the 1940s, if not earlier) is because it's funny, and it uses the play on words between "wuzzy" and "was he". But this book isn't funny. It's somewhat charming in its own way, but it takes the one thing I think kids like about the rhyme and strips it out. The writing is pretty good, the meter of the poetry is usually good though it trips up a few times. It's got a good message, although I'm not sure how strongly it conveys it.

Message: 

Don't let others define you by what you're lacking.

Author
Illustrator
Publication Year
  • 2020
Age Range
Age Range: 
8-10
Number of Pages
Number of Pages: 
26
Number of Words on Typical Page
Number of Words: 
20

Comments

The rhyme

I didn't realise it was a tongue twister either. I always thought it was just a nursery rhyme. Then again, I could read "Fox in Socks" easily at age six and my mother describes me as "articulate" so maybe that has something to do with it.