THE COACHMAN RAT by David Henry Wilson

THE COACHMAN RAT

KIRKUS REVIEW

Clever and agreeably concise reworking of various folk tales, from the British playwright and children's author. Cinderella sets the stage. Mara (the fairy godmother) magically transforms the ragged serving-girl Amadea into a princess; a nearby rat who's curious about humans becomes Robert, a coachman. When midnight stikes, Robert becomes a rat again--but he retains human speech and thought. After a stint in a carnival sideshow, Robert is discovered by scientist Richter, who's impressed by Robert's abilities but skeptical of his supernatural explanations. So Robert settles down to live with another scientist, Jenkins; but then Jenkins' friend, Devlin the revolutionary, tricks Robert into betraying Amadea--the princess--and her husband. Incited by Devlin, a mob sacks the palace soon after Mara grants Robert human form. The prince is beheaded, Amadea burned as a witch. So Robert swears vengeance: having learned to play the recorder, he summons an army of rats to destroy Devlin--but even here matters don't proceed as planned. Well-handled but fairly obvious in intent; still, the approach is unusual.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Carroll & Graf