This second edition of a debut illustrated satire critiques the U.S political system.
The animals in the Land of Plenty are being taken advantage of by their crooked and do-nothing government. The rats and snakes that toil on the Hill barely do any work, taking long vacations and accepting gifts from special interest groups. There is a Bald Eagle who is always watching over and listening in on the other animals. The House is composed of rattlesnakes, while the Senate is made up of phantom snakes. The rats, mice, and rabbits who assist them do so under strict rules, including wearing a paper collar: “The paper collar is made out of colored papers that are cut into half-inch strips, rolled, and attached with spit to stay together. It is required by Uncle Big Rat regulations and the other chief rats for showing control.” The military comprises Mighty Mice, who are entitled to services at the Squeaky Hospital, though the rats often find ways of denying these to the warriors. The public is composed of sheep who do and say nothing despite the mistreatment of the Mighty Mice by Uncle Big Rat because they have been brainwashed by the media. The text is accompanied by black-and-white illustrations by Zaborsky. The reader gets the basic sense of what Skyler’s point is—that Washington is corrupt and abandons veterans—but the satire is far too inarticulate to be effective. The nuances of the author’s message are lost beneath the messy layer of jargon that has been laid on top of the targets. Many words are written backward for no apparent reason. (The rat chiefs are heads of departments like “Namuh Secruoser” and “Enicidem.”) The syntax is highly awkward, and no real story ever emerges. This feels much more like the background notes for the world of a planned narrative rather than a narrative itself. Even Zaborsky’s images feel like sketches rather than final products. While surely readers will agree that the federal government has mishandled veteran heath care for many years, this book fails to make that argument in a persuasive or comprehensible way.
A puzzling satire that denounces America’s treatment of veterans.