Oh Rats! The Story of Rats and People: The Story of Rats and People

Overview

Able to claw straight up a brick wall, squeeze through a pipe the width of a quarter, and gnaw through iron and concrete, rats are also revealed in this fascinating book to be incredibly intelligent and capable of great compassion. Weaving science, history, culture, and folklore, awardwinning writer Albert Marrin offers a look at rats that goes from curious to repulsive, horrifying to comic, fearsome to inspiring. Arresting blackand- white scratchboard illustrations with bold red accents add visual punch to this ...

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Overview

Able to claw straight up a brick wall, squeeze through a pipe the width of a quarter, and gnaw through iron and concrete, rats are also revealed in this fascinating book to be incredibly intelligent and capable of great compassion. Weaving science, history, culture, and folklore, awardwinning writer Albert Marrin offers a look at rats that goes from curious to repulsive, horrifying to comic, fearsome to inspiring. Arresting blackand- white scratchboard illustrations with bold red accents add visual punch to this study of a creature that has annoyed, disgusted, nourished, and intrigued its human neighbors throughout the centuries.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Beginning with his first personal encounter with rats at the age of seven, Albert Marrin proceeds in a comfortable, chatty style to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the creatures. Yes, they have been around a long time, having survived the holocaust that destroyed the dinosaurs—and even surviving more recent atomic bomb tests. Billions of them. Marrin cheerfully points out their finer points in haute cuisine, explains their role in the Black Death of the Middle Ages, gives suggestions on how to exterminate them—then ends with their usefulness in medical experimentation and as mine detectors. Obviously he is of two minds on his subject and plays devil's advocate as well as prosecutor. The book may be nonfiction, but it is also fine storytelling. C. B. Mordan's evocative black-and-white line drawings, with occasional pink or red washes, show off the rat to its best advantage—in moments both wicked and benign. This is a fine marriage of narration and illustration; a very fine book, indeed.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Rats and humans have had a very long love/hate relationship as readers discover in this lively and informative overview of the history and behavior of the widely encountered rodent. Emphasizing the animal's capabilities for survival, Marrin offers both anecdotal accounts of human/rat encounters and impressive statistics. Rats have occupied the Earth far longer than humans, and they compete prodigiously for the world's food supply, earning their reputation as major pests to humankind. On the other hand, they provide an important source of protein for the many humans who eat them worldwide. (Not a pleasing bit of information for readers who have loved them as pets.) The nine short chapters are set in a handsome slim book with striking black-and-white scratchboard illustrations and muted red framing on many pages. Marrin touches briefly on physical characteristics as he explains the veneration of rats in some cultures, attempts to eradicate them in others, and rats as both carriers of disease and valued subjects of medical research. It's a different sort of discussion and format for this well-known historian and biographer and one that he has clearly enjoyed, as will a wide variety of nonfiction readers and animal fans. There's a bibliography of adult sources and children's nonfiction as well as a listing of literary works featuring rats.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The lore and science of rats receive an enthusiastic treatment in this handsome volume. Marrin adopts a personal tone, beginning his exploration with an anecdote from his youth and then presenting fact after cool fact about these "champions of survival." Several short chapters discuss the biology and behavior of the rat, the history of rats and people, rats as food, the diseases carried by rats and the difficulty of getting rid of them. Well-designed sidebars present additional related factoids for the eager reader. What those readers will notice first, however, are Mordan's striking black-and-white illustrations, enhanced with shades of red to heighten their subject's sinister nature. That these decidedly creepy illustrations are at times at odds with the enthusiasm of the text does nothing to diminish their effectiveness. The black, white and red design lends a vaguely antique air to the whole; the landscape orientation emphasizes the horizontal slinkiness of its subject. End matter provides both the author's bibliography and a number of titles for further reading, both nonfiction and fiction. Even the most rat-o-phobic reader will emerge with a heightened appreciation for the hardy rodent. (Nonfiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525477624
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/17/2006
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 251,882
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert Marrin is a much-decorated historian and writer whose most recent book, Terror of the Spanish Main, was called "addictive reading" in The Horn Book. He lives in Riverdale, New York.

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