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Children's Fiction Mice, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Etc.

Gerbil, Uncurled

by (author) Alison Hughes

illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Aug 2015
Mice, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, etc., Values & Virtues, Multigenerational
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3


Little Gerbil has learned all of the important Gerbil Mottos from Grandpa: Always Keep Your Whiskers Clean, Celery Tops Come to Those Who Wait, etc.

But there is one motto that Little Gerbil just can't manage to keep: Curl Up Nose to Toes when it comes time to go to sleep. At the weekly Gerbil Circle meeting she knows she has to tell the truth. Little Gerbil discovers that she is not the only one that has problems following some of the Gerbil Mottos.

About the authors

Alison Hughes writes for children of all ages, and her books have been nominated for numerous awards. Alison also volunteers at the Centre for Family Literacy and does frequent presentations at schools, libraries and young-writer conferences. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband and three children. For more information, visit

Alison Hughes' profile page

Suzanne Del Rizzo has always loved getting her hands messy. She traded her job in scientific research for a career in children’s illustration with her first picture book, Skink on the Brink, which won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and was a finalist for the Rainforest of Reading Award. Suzanne’s dimensional illustrations use Plasticine, polymer clay, and other mixed media to bring rich texture and imagination to her books. In 2015, looking for resources to explain the Syrian Civil War to her own children, Suzanne came across an article of a boy who took solace in a connection with wild birds at the Za’atari refugee camp. Struck by the universality of a child’s relationship to animals, she began writing My Beautiful Birds. Her distinctive illustrations also grace Sun Dog, a winner of the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, and Before You Were Born, an acclaimed and touching celebration of new life. Suzanne lives in Oakville, Ontario.

Suzanne Del Rizzo's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Hughes (Lost in the Backyard) uses dry humor ("Little Gerbil was miserable. She was living a gerbil lie") and her heroine's perceptiveness and bravery to grow the story into a thoughtful, rodent-centric take on the idea of being the change one wishes to see."
Publishers Weekly

"A fun book about being who you are and being proud. The stunning plasticine dimensional illustrations bring an extra depth to the story."

"This thoroughly enjoyable book shares an important life lesson in a gentle manner that many children will find reassuring.The illustrations are sculptural and intricate and wonderfully fun to explore."
Foreword Magazine

"Alison Hughes shares important lessons about cooperation, family and being true to oneself in Gerbil, Uncurled but young readers will be just as charmed by Suzanne Del Rizzo's plasticene art of the little rodents and their environs."
CanLit for LittleCanadians

"A heart-warming story using familiar animal characters, with valuable life lessons. Wonderful information for further learning about gerbils, pets and traditions, as well as an activity which an individual or a whole class can enjoy. Highly recommended for guided reading and discussion with young children in classrooms or in the home."
Resource Links Magazine

"Gerbil, Uncurled is perfect for preschoolers and younger school-aged children. Those in that age group often question seemingly arbitrary rules that are established at home or at school. Children are reassured that everyone can, at times, struggle to fit into the norms of their family or society. The writing is slick and engaging.
Highly Recommended. "
CM Magazine

Other titles by Alison Hughes

Other titles by Suzanne Del Rizzo