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The Naked Mole-Rat Letters Paperback – May 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823420981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823420988
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–Frankie Wallop is shocked when she reads an e-mail sent to her widowed father by a woman he met recently. Not only does it sound as though the two have spent time together, but also that there was a kiss involved. Immediately taking the situation in hand, the 12-year-old responds to Ayanna with the sound advice to never write her dad again–he is much too busy with his family, especially Frankie's two younger brothers who have some sort of horrible disease. Now that she has sorted that out, she can turn her attention to the upcoming audition for the school play, convinced that the lead will be hers. Frankie is about to find out that life does not always follow one's plans. Not only does Ayanna keep writing back, asking Frankie about her life and describing her own job as the keeper of the naked mole-rats at the National Zoo, but unhappy thoughts that her father might remarry also keep creeping into her mind. Not getting the part in the play is also a deep blow, and she does not know how to cope. The straight-A student finds herself ditching school, lying to her teachers, shutting out her best friend, and ignoring the needs of her younger brothers. Through the e-mails to Ayanna and her own diary entries, readers follow Frankie's struggles with disappointment, anger, loss, and growing up. Only after a family crisis does she finally talk with her father and begin to work things out. A fairly predictable story, but one with solid relationships and refreshing characterizations.–Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. Frankie is shocked when she intercepts an e-mail from a woman, Ayanna (nicknamed Ratlady), who apparently met and kissed Frankie's widowed father during a recent business trip. She begins an e-mail exchange with Ayanna in an attempt to discourage the budding romantic relationship. Ayanna, keeper of the naked mole rats at the Washington, D.C., National Zoo, attempts to maintain an honest dialogue, but Frankie's desperate and comic replies escalate out of control. In a believable way, Frankie begins to act out of character in reaction to the changes in her life, unsettling her best friend, her teachers, and also her father. Ayanna's supportive e-mails (including analogies to the behavior of her small mammals) eventually help Frankie deal with her disappointment at not getting the lead in the school's play and prompt her to talk to her father about their latent grief over the death of Frankie's mother. Told in e-mails and diary entries, this is a humorous look at honesty and privacy that will have special relevance for readers whose parents are back in the dating pool. Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Mary Amato is an award-winning children's book author, poet, playwright, and songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and nominated for the children's choice awards in many

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Mary Amato's other books, the word eater, and snarf attack, are also really great.
Phillip Scott
I am a Children's Librarian at a public library and conduct a monthly book club for children 4th - 6th grade.
The characters and their actions are so human unlike some books who's characters are like robots.
K. OBrien

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Booklover on April 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
One of the best books I've read all year - and I'm 41 years old! I read this book to my children (9 & 11, but I confess I sneaked ahead on my own too. Amato writes very engagingly and is quite funny. The voice and frustrations of Frankie, the 12 year old lead character who is afraid of her widowed father's interest in dating a new woman are right on the mark. Frankie finds an email from this women (called Ratlady, due to her job as the keeper of naked mole rats in the National Zoo, and starts inventing wild lies sent by email to try to nip the relationship in the bud. Hence the title of the book. The entire story is revealed through emails and diary entries. (The diary entries are often too long and full of details to be taken for the actual writings that a 12 year old girl would really write, however the descriptions are necessary and well done in order to put you more into her story, and wouldn't it be great if she really did write like that!) The relationship with Ratlady evolves through email from antagonistic (and funnily so; we laughed out loud), to very sweet and quite helpful as Ratlady always responds with kindness and just the right touch to Frankie's obviously false emails. Her approach is a good lesson for all adults, and Frankie ends up seeing many parallels between her emails with Ratlady, her relationship with her own family, her school and friend situation and the society of Naked Mole Rats, about which Ratlady explains in her emails back to Frankie. The author does a fantastic job of tying up story lines by bringing in previous aspects, but doesn't shove them in your face moralistically, thanks to the diary/email format. In fact, some younger readers would not necessarily even see the way the author brought everything full circle.

In short, this book will stay on my shelf for a while, and I highly recommend you give it a try.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maryland reader on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Frankie is a middle school girl who stumbles on an email to her father from a strange woman. Her attempts to make sure they never get together lead to more and more lies and trouble at school. Funny and touching and a believable family. Mary Amato has the voice just right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shannon on February 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must read. I absolutely LOVED it. I picked it up and couldn't put it down, and then I gave it to my 12 year old daughter, and she couldn't put it down either. Prepare to laugh out loud, and prepare to cry a few tears (in a good way!).

I can't wait to read more Mary Amato books. Keep them coming!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By classroom3502 on December 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Have you ever felt as if the whole world was gone upside down? Like, your pet died or your mom and dad got a divorce. Well, Frankie Wallop has. Her whole life changed after her mom died, her dad fell in love again, and she was betrayed by her best friend. As I was reading The Naked Mole Rat Letters by Mary Amato, I felt her pain when she was crying for her mom and how she was gone. The Naked Mole Rat Letters takes place in an old city named Pepper Blossom. Technically it's in the middle of no where. Ever sine her mom died Frankie has been playing the role of the mom. She later finds out that her dad has been seeing another woman. Paranoid by their e-mails, Frankie has been spying and lying to everyone in her life. Also she tried out for the play "The Miracle Worker", she was hoping that she would get the part she wanted, but when she saw that she didn't get her part she was furious. So she tore the book "The Miracle Worker" into tiny pieces. Still hoping that the mysterious woman will leave her family alone. If you found out that your dad loved another woman wouldn't you want to get rid of her?
The audience for The Naked Mole Rat Letters is kids that have a single parent and the parent likes someone. This happens in the story when the woman and Frankie's dad are emailing each other, and Frankie thinks that her dad is replacing the mom with this new woman. The genre is realistic fiction because things like this can happen but it's not based on a true family or events. The book Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer is the most similar and different to The Naked Mole Rat Letters. In both book the main characters both have to lose their best friends. But in Eclipse its fantasy, it has vampires and werewolves, then the The Naked Mole Rat Letters, it has normal people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Walsh on January 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Naked Mole Rat Letters by Mary Amato is funny, interesting and just a great adventure. It is about a 7th grade girl named Frankie and her dad went on a business trip to Washington, DC. While he was there he met a woman named Ayanna at the zoo. Ayanna works at the zoo with the Naked Mole Rats. The become to be a little more than just friends. They still keep in touch when her dad comes back home from email. Frankie checks her dad's email and finds all the messages they have sent to each other. Frankie's mom died not too long ago and she won't let any woman replace her mom. Frankie tries to stop this mess and it just turns into lies and schemes. I like this book because it was not in just normal print. All the story is in diary entrees and emails. I gave it five stars because any middle aged boy or girl would love it and if you are an animal lover it makes the story even more thrilling. I would reccomend this book to kids or adults that like realistic fiction, animals, romance, and gossip.
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