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In thoughtful prose, Drachman (Leo the Lightning Bug) delivers readers to a school for Bad Rats, where the repressive Professor Perimeter explains to his pupils, "You are bad because you follow your heart and not your mind. Our minds make things neat and our hearts are messy." Though each of the rats dreams of becoming an artist, Perimeter teaches them to abandon their creativity in favor of scurrying and hiding, until at last he rediscovers his own messy heart and strolls off into the sunset. Sepia and gray tones predominate in Muscarello's illustrations, softly rendered in charcoal, ink and watercolor; but his muted palette gives way to color as the mood of the text changes. The accompanying CD is in some ways better than the book, as the extensive dialogue lends itself to Drachman's considerable talents as a performer; moreover, the CD moves slowly enough to allow new readers to follow along. Ages 4-8. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.