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PUBLISHED: 2:31 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Children's book teaches lesson of self-acceptance
When you were born, maybe somebody said you had your mother's eyes or maybe your dad's nose. Maybe they say you have your grandma's smile or you have ears just like your uncle had when he was your age.

And maybe that embarrasses you. So what do you do when you have some family likeness that you really, really, really hate?

In the new book "The Itchy Little Musk Ox" by Tricia Brown, illustrated by Debra Dubac, a baby musk ox learns the things he inherited from his musk ox mama aren't so bad after all.


Once upon a time in the Great North, there was a little musk ox who was in a very grumpy mood. He had an itch he couldn't scratch. He tried to reach it with his hooves, but his horns were in the way.

Dumb old horns.

He tried to ignore the itch but it only got worse.

Dumb old itchy wool.

His mother told him he needed patience but that just made the little musk ox a whole lot grumpier.

Finally, the little musk ox realized that he needed something to scratch against, so he went looking for a tree or a rock or... or anything that would work. He finally found a grove of trees and he itched and scratched and rubbed and it was wonderful.

But then he stopped and looked around. He saw that he left tufts of wool called qiviut (KIV-ee-yute) everywhere on the branches of the trees. He also saw that he was very alone. All the other musk oxen had moved on to graze and they left the little musk ox all by himself in the forest.

But wait. Maybe he wasn't alone. The little musk ox met a bison who teased him about those in-the-way horns. He found out that those horns could keep a hungry wolf from making a musk ox meal. And he found a friend who showed him that his terrible itch wouldn't last, but things that were made of his wool would be around for a good long time.

Every kid in the world has been teased at one point or another about something. This cute, quick, and easy-to-read book will show them that there is a reason they are the way they are. Author Tricia Brown's story is with a refrain that kids will understand, and the musk ox's facial expressions (that grin!) and other illustrations by Debra Dubac will make them giggle.

Once your child has heard this story a few times, be sure to turn to the back of the book so you can both find out more about musk oxen.

"The Itchy Little Musk Ox" is perfect for kids ages 4 to 8, so pick it up and read it aloud. This is a story that your kids will be itching to hear again and again.


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