Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of

World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of

J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrator:  Anna Raff 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Candlewick, 2013   ISBN: 978-0763654023

Many people have heard of Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Halloween, even if they do not celebrate these holidays, but what about World Rat Day or Dragon Appreciation Day? These holidays, though they are not well known, really do exist and wouldn’t it be fun to add them to our calendar of holidays.

   In this title J. Patrick Lewis give us a collection of poems that celebrate twenty-two lesser known holidays. He takes us through a year, beginning with Cats Day, which is on January second. This is the one day in the year when a cat should be able to be the boss who does whatever he or she wishes. A cat should be able to “Spin a yarn,’ and dine on “Mice Crispies” while sipping eggnog. This of all days should be the day with a cat should be allowed to “hog the bed before the dog.”

   January also offers us Dragon Appreciation Day, a day when dragons should be honored and given their due. For this day J. Patrick Lewis offers dragons a little reminder of how they should behave at mealtimes with his poem Eight Table Manners for Dragons. He tells them not to blow on their soup as this “only makes it hotter,” and they should always “Play with your food, but don’t let it run around screaming.” After all, to do so would be rather uncouth.

   Young readers are going to love the often funny poems that J. Patrick Lewis has created for this collection. They come in many forms and will titillate reader’s ears when they are read out loud and shared with others. Wonderfully expressive paintings accompany the poems, and children will soon notice that a quartet of rats appear on many of pages. One never quite knows what these four rascals will be doing next.