I WAS A RAT! by Philip Pullman


Age Range: 10 - 12
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PLB 0-375-90176-0 Pullman (The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, p. 1651, etc.) takes aim at city hall, the law, police, and especially the press in this whirlwind spinoff from a certain familiar fairy tale. As The Daily Scourge trumpets the prince’s whirlwind courtship with a mysterious princess, humble cobbler, Old Bob, and his wife, Joan, share a more immediate concern when an exhausted lad in a torn page-boy’s uniform appears at their door, able to tell them only that he used to be a rat. Although his habits and table manners are indeed ratlike, Bob and Joan take him in, dub him “Roger” and, when no government agency shows an interest, begin to think of him as their own. A quick learner but completely at sea in human society, Roger immediately falls into a series of misadventures, from biting a teacher who tries to strike him, to becoming a sideshow attraction. He flees to the sewers, only to be hunted down and condemned, both in court and in the pages of the Scourge, as a danger to children. Fortunately, Bob and Joan bring Roger’s plight, along with a pair of fine shoes, to the kindly princess, who, realizing just who the boy is, engineers a royal rescue. The satire is a bit heavy-handed, but children will find Roger’s ingenuousness, along with his inordinate fondness for pencils and other tasty chewables, hilarious. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-375-80176-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1999


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