Baker's desert-dwelling cast consists of a roadrunner, two ground squirrels, a tortoise who has retired there from a career...

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SANTA RAT

Baker's desert-dwelling cast consists of a roadrunner, two ground squirrels, a tortoise who has retired there from a career racing on cruise ships, a gerbil who has run away from his family at a nearby campground, and a woodrat who ""slept all day and collected around the campground at night, so nobody ever saw him."" One night (about halfway through the small story) a tree blows their way, and the tortoise and gerbil, who have been around people, inform the others that it's a Christmas tree. What's more, the gerbil says, if they all clean house and leave out food and written requests, a flying red creature called Santa Claus will bring them what they ask for. The animals comply expectantly, the tortoise scratches their requests in the sand, and while they sleep the woodrat's collecting leaves an accidental trail of objects that either fill their wishes or can be used as instruments to that end. The first half of the story is weaker, being made up of desultory conversation and action which serves only to pave the way for the requests--the roadrunner wants cars to race with, the tortoise companionship, the squirrels games. But it doesn't lead up to much either. There's nothing compelling about any of the wishes, or delightful about the way they're fulfilled.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1980