This spinoff from the Cinderella story is an instant classic--children will love it, while adults who read it aloud will admire the imagination and talent Meddaugh (Martha Blah, 1996, etc.) exhibits in this highly original tale. The story is framed thus: ""I was born a rat. I expected to be a rat all my days. But life is full of surprises."" The familiar tale is the backdrop for the rat's story: He was caught in a trap, but his captor is a fairy godmother who tums rats into coachmen. He goes along to the ball, and is drawn to the larder, where a fellow servant almost stomps the hero's sister Ruth, still a rat. There begins a series of zany events that only readers fully understand, leading to an ending--a happy ending--that no one will predict. Humor permeates the tale, while clever twists shape it; as in William Steig's best work, the language is spare and catchy, the telling is droll, and pictures and text combine perfectly.