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OH, RATS! by Albert Marrin


The Story of Rats and People

by Albert Marrin & illustrated by C.B. Mordan

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-525-47762-4
Publisher: Dutton

The lore and science of rats receive an enthusiastic treatment in this handsome volume. Marrin adopts a personal tone, beginning his exploration with an anecdote from his youth and then presenting fact after cool fact about these “champions of survival.” Several short chapters discuss the biology and behavior of the rat, the history of rats and people, rats as food, the diseases carried by rats and the difficulty of getting rid of them. Well-designed sidebars present additional related factoids for the eager reader. What those readers will notice first, however, are Mordan’s striking black-and-white illustrations, enhanced with shades of red to heighten their subject’s sinister nature. That these decidedly creepy illustrations are at times at odds with the enthusiasm of the text does nothing to diminish their effectiveness. The black, white and red design lends a vaguely antique air to the whole; the landscape orientation emphasizes the horizontal slinkiness of its subject. End matter provides both the author’s bibliography and a number of titles for further reading, both nonfiction and fiction. Even the most rat-o-phobic reader will emerge with a heightened appreciation for the hardy rodent. (Nonfiction. 9-13)