RAT IS DEAD AND ANT IS SAD by Betty Baker

RAT IS DEAD AND ANT IS SAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Pueblo Indian analogue (with a different twist) to ""Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse,"" whose repetition may have suggested its suitability for an easy-reader--but whose very simple cumulative pattern actually suits a picture-book audience better. And there's another problem: the unfamiliar, unexplained setting (which a picture-book text would have taken account of). Rat, we're baldly told, has a knot in his fur; goes to ""the cookhouse"" (room with grill, Pueblo pots) to get Ant to take it out; falls into a pot, fails to answer Ant's call; and so touches off a chain of lamentation--Ant weeps, Jay drops his feathers, a cottonwood tree shrivels and shrinks, a sheep grows thin, etc. Also, and very specific to the setting--a little girl breaks her jar, her mother burns her earrings. But her brother's horse, about to have its tail cut off, finally asks the crucial question: ""Did you see Rat dead?"" And so the sequence is retraced, the horse puts its tail into the pot, and out climbs Rat--to set everyone and everything aright. At once rudimentary and puzzling, and thus unlikely to grab hold of beginning readers--especially since the illustrations are too generalized to make individuals of the characters.

Pub Date: March 4th, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row