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by Judy Cox & illustrated by Cynthia Fisher

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-8234-1379-9
Publisher: Holiday House

A girl with a fear of rats overcomes that aversion in this fast-paced classroom story, where the personalities of the students and a funny, alert teacher take center stage. Rosemary is horrified when a rat becomes the class pet. She can’t help herself, though, when the students are deciding on a name; she shouts “Cheese” and the name is adopted. When it’s her turn to take care of Cheese, Rosemary grows fond of the pet. So fond, in fact, that she steals it rather than let her awful classmate Brian take it home. After several misadventures trying to hide it at home, she gets it back into the cage, confesses to Mr. Wilder, and gives Brian a quick lecture on how to care for Cheese properly. Cox’s glowing description of Rosemary’s introduction to Cheese is believable; the author, who includes rat care tips at the end, obviously has great fondness for rats, and conveys those feelings without being cloying. The class, the teacher, even Brian are all casually realistic, and the story will surely have young readers clamoring for rats of their own. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 6-10)