ADVENTURES OF THE RAT FAMILY by Jules Verne

ADVENTURES OF THE RAT FAMILY

A Fairy Tale
Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The first English translation of a story in which a rat family makes its way up the evolutionary (and social) ladder from oyster to human--through ``transmigrations of souls''--under the auspices of good fairy Firmenta (i.e., the heavens) and villain Gardafour (``guard the furnace'': hellfire). Of most interest here is an afterword by Verne expert Brian Taves, explaining many such puns (which will elude English-speaking readers) and setting the story in the context of Verne's oeuvre and the evolution controversy. The original illustrations, realistically depicting rats and the humans they ultimately become, are well executed but in no way arresting. As a period piece, the story has some interest; but though the dialogue is lively, the plot is merely a vehicle for what to a 20th-century eye looks like a feeble exploration of ideas; in 100 years, the evolution controversy itself has evolved, while Verne's societal parallel is just too dated to engage. A curiosity, of scholarly interest only. In the Iona and Peter Opie Library of Children's Literature series, with an introduction by Iona Opie. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-19-508114-5
Page count: 72pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993