He can collapse his body to squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. She can leap off a five-story building and land safely on her feet. He can tread water for three days. She can sniff out land mines. He can walk on telephone wires and scale brick walls straight up. She can feel her way through the dark with special sensory hairs. No, we aren’t talking about a new team of superheroes. We are talking about the champions of survival in the animal world: rats. Readers will learn facts both riveting and revolting in “Oh, Rats!: The Story of Rats and People’’ by award-winning non-fiction author Albert Marrin. Rats can be affectionate, easy-to-care-for and fun-to-train pets. They will feed their own crippled family members. On the other hand, they are known disease-carriers and are blamed for eating or destroying one-fifth of world’s human food supply. Rats may still give you the creeps after you read this book, but they may gain your respect. And you will find out why you may actually owe them your life.
“Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes” by Barbara Knutson
Cuy the guinea pig is a quick-witted, creative thinker, which is the only thing that keeps him from being a snack. In his village in the Andes, both people and foxes enjoy the plump rodents as a tasty treat. Cuy’s nemesis, gullible fox Tio Antonio, is tired of being tricked, and Cuy is looking for a more leisurely lifestyle. Trying his luck as a farmhand, the tiny rodent, unconvincingly disguised as a tiny man, spends his days eating the farmer’s alfalfa crop. The oblivious farmer sets a trap to catch the thief and Cuy finds himself in his stickiest predicament yet (literally), just as a hungrier-than-ever Tio Antonio happens to be passing by. Will our tiny trickster be able to foil two captors at once? In this fantastical folktale, even the clever characters are amusingly foolish. Ages 5-plus.
“Me and My Big Mouse” by Ethan Long
Michael, the young boy who narrates this comically exaggerated tale, has a predicament any child with a clingy younger sibling or over-eager friend can relate to: he’s feeling a bit smothered (literally and physically). In this case, Michael is overwhelmed by his enormous mouse, Bo. Bo loves playing “squeak-a-boo,” cuddling, and being included in every activity. The sensitive and sweet-natured rodent also suffers from a severe case of separation anxiety. Longing for a break, Michael sneaks off to the playground without Bo. Hurt feelings result, and Michael apologizes for abandoning his pal before setting some ground rules for going forward. With visual gags aplenty, this story entertains while also promoting discussion of boundaries and personal space. Ages 4-8.
“Norman the Doorman” by Don Freeman
Beneath a grandiose art museum, Norman the mouse is a dependable and knowledgeable doorman and tour guide to rodents who come to view the treasures in the museum’s storage area. Devoting his evenings to creating his own art, Norman decides to enter his mousetrap and bent-wire artwork into the people museum’s sculpture contest. Caught by the museum’s security guard, Norman is sure he’s in trouble for trespassing, only to find that his art is being celebrated by a gallery of new fans. With a message that even the smallest among us can be artists, and a motto of “try your best,” this is an uplifting and lesser-known classic by the author of Corduroy. Ages 4-8.
For more rodent reads, call (920) 448-5846 or go to the “Mice+ Friends” list at tinyurl.com/BCLReadsKids
Check it out: ‘Oh, Rats!’ and other fun rodent reads – Green Bay Press Gazette
rats – Google News