Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Rat

The Rat

Elise Gravel
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Tundra, 2014   ISBN: 978-1770496583

Rats do not have best of reputations. People associate them with disease and garbage cans, and are more than happy to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Whereas mice are often considered cute, rats, with their long naked tails and rather intimidating teeth, are considered “disgusting.”

   What many people don’t know is that rats are very intelligent creatures and are able to problem solve. In fact they are so clever that they help scientists to better understand human behavior. Their tail may be nasty looking but it serves a useful purpose. It helps rats to balance, and it can even be used to lift things, acting almost like a “fifth paw.” Those teeth, which are frankly quite scary, can chew through just about anything, including cement, wood and plastic. When we consider these attributes it is not hard to understand why rats, as a species, have been so successful. We may still dislike them, but perhaps we should admire them a little as well.

   This is one of the books in the “Disgusting Critters” series. Throughout the book interesting facts are paired with funny, comic style art that young children will find entertaining. The easy-to-read text is written in such a way that young readers will get interested even if they believe that all non-fiction books are “boring.”