Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PIE-RATS! by Lisa Frenkel Riddiough


by Lisa Frenkel Riddiough ; illustrated by David Mottram

Pub Date: March 12th, 2024
ISBN: 9780593203286
Publisher: Viking

Rodents dressed like Captain Hook seek dessert.

Being tossed through stormy seas doesn’t bring these intrepid pie-rats to their knees, and even when there are no pies to be eaten, these scurvy dogs won’t be beaten. Yes, a period-costumed rat-crew mans (rodents?) a ship with an enormous spoon for a figurehead. They clutch oversize cutlery instead of cutlasses; a spoon and pie server stand in for skull-and-crossbones on the captain’s cocked hat. Their refrain, shouted out from the poop deck, main deck, ratlines, and lookout, is simply “PIE, PIE, PIE, PIE!” While gazing at clouds that resemble pies, they yell out their favorite flavors: “Pumpkin, apple, that one’s cherry / Plum, pecan, a slice of berry.” Undeterred by a typhoon, they spy a “dessert-ed island,” swim ashore, and trek through a Candy Land–esque world. Alas, a troupe of “scallywags” (aka hamsters) has somehow eaten every last pie: The tins hold only crumbs. Preparing to fight (though there’s no prize now), the riled rodents luckily spot another island feature: hillocks of sumptuous cake. Surprise, surprise, they dive in; “pie-rats aren’t that picky.” The puns, rhymes, and wave-rocked rhythms will please many, and for in-lap or solo readers the thrills are enhanced by colorful, cartoonish illustrations with lots of details to notice: the meringue moon, red crabs, pie-shaped clouds, and more.

Avast, mateys! Here be treasure.

(Picture book. 3-7)