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by Marian Harris & illustrated by Jim Harris

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-56554-233-9
Publisher: Pelican

An atmospheric tale about a prospector and a pack rat in the desert lopes along at a leisurely pace. After a brief explanation of what a pack rat does, the real story opens: “It was Tuesday in Arizona, and things were not goin’ well.” The troll-like old man loses his burro, the first of many setbacks he’ll suffer. He props his huge sombrero up on sticks and sleeps in its shade; the pack rat chews illuminating holes into it. A band of thieves robs the prospector’s home and ties him up, and when he trades his pickaxe for beans to live on, the pack rat pokes a hole in the bag, and he returns home with nothing. Things start to look up when the man locates the pack rat’s home, where happily, it has collected a cache of gold nuggets. The Harrises ensure that the text and art work hand and glove to put the jokes across; the style of the prose allows for plenty of embellishment when read aloud. The illustrations, making use of all the exaggeration of political cartoons, feature familiar details of the Sonoran Desert, and readers will have fun poring over every page, in search of the punch line that gives the deadpan text its edge. (Picture book. 4-7)