Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WALTER by Barbara Wersba Kirkus Star


The Story of a Rat

by Barbara Wersba & illustrated by Donna Diamond

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2005
ISBN: 1-932425-41-1

A small but very nearly perfect gem depicts the growing friendship between a literarily-minded rat and an aging author of children’s books. Walter himself is a rat of elder years, one who delights in the solitary habits and library of the woman—Miss Pomeroy—in whose house he dwells. His uncanny ability to read has inevitably kept him apart from other rats, but in Miss Pomeroy, he sees a kindred soul—until he discovers that she writes, not about rats, but about mice. Wersba has created in Walter (he names himself after Sir Walter Scott) a complex character, whose essential rattiness coexists with his love of words, one who both takes care to hide his droppings and simultaneously cannot fathom why humans revile his kind. He encounters literature with all the wonder of an innocent, reveling in words he can only partially understand. The correspondence that begins between Walter and Miss Pomeroy reveals two prickly individuals, both lonely, both willing to overlook the other’s signal flaws in their acknowledgement of a common ground. Funny and poignant by turns, here’s a sweetly quirky love story of letters. (Fiction. 8-12)