THE TALE OF THE SWAMP RAT by Carter Crocker

THE TALE OF THE SWAMP RAT

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 11 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Like its drought-stricken Florida swamp setting, there is a steady but sluggish flow to this folksy, philosophical debut that may lose less patient readers, but those who stick with it may hear echoes of both Wind in the Willows and The Jungle Book. Orphaned by Mr. Took the rattlesnake, mute little Ossie acquires a protector and mentor in Uncle Will, a huge, ancient gator from whose back he sees the swamp’s far reaches, meets its diverse, chatty residents, and hears reptilian dreams of centuries past. Eventually Ossie finds voice, friends, and even a sweetheart; meanwhile, however, the swamp’s usually reasonable community becomes more and more susceptible to the jeremiads of the stork Bubba, a self-proclaimed Prophet, who dubs Ossie “The One Who Was Saved” (shades of Harry Potter) and blames him for every misfortune. Driven away once Uncle Will dies, Ossie survives a rematch with Mr. Took, thanks to the very animals who had shunned him, then leads his rescuers to a hidden spring to wait out the drought. Despite a contrived climax, readers may enjoy Crocker’s low-key brand of humor and non-preachy philosophizing. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-23964-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003