Rat and Roach, Friends to the End

Overview

Friends. Enemies. And friends again!

This is a story of two friends. Rat and Roach.
They get along great!
Except when Rat makes a mess . . .
Or Roach cooks too fancy . . .
Or Rat HUGS TOO TIGHT!!
In fact, why are these two friends? Rat and Roach aren't so sure either, but ...

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Overview

Friends. Enemies. And friends again!

This is a story of two friends. Rat and Roach.
They get along great!
Except when Rat makes a mess . . .
Or Roach cooks too fancy . . .
Or Rat HUGS TOO TIGHT!!
In fact, why are these two friends? Rat and Roach aren't so sure either, but they're more unhappy when they aren't friends. Here is a book that shows friendship in a whole new, wonderful, hilarious light.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Covell introduces a classic New York City odd couple in his debut picture book. Sloppy Rat, round-bellied in a rumpled gray flannel shirt, and neatnik Roach, slim in a pinstriped vest, live together “under Avenue A.” The urbanites share interests: garbage-man Rat plays drums, and food critic Roach wants to squeak lead vocals in a band. Yet they loudly disagree over decorating and dining. “Why do they shout? Is it because.... Rat makes a mess and Roach makes things too pretty? Or Rat has bad manners when Roach cooks too fancy?” Grammarians will wince at Covell’s jerky transitions and laissez-faire attitude toward syntax, and this hit-or-miss quality marks the art, too. Covell pictures Rat and Roach in squiggles of black marker and spritzes of black, neon green, and hot pink spray paint; his imagery suggests graffiti tags and stencils, and Rat calls Banksy to mind. For all its improv surface and gross-out vermin, though, this is a benign narrative. If the subtitle suggests traps and poison, no (external) threats emerge to threaten the protagonists, who seal their friendship over a smelly heap of tuna. Ages 3–6. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 2—The yuck factor alone should make this picture book a hit with youngsters. Rat is paunchy, sloppy, smelly, loud, and rude—in short, a character kids will follow eagerly, if only to witness his comeuppance. Roach, on the other hand, loves to decorate, dress nattily—occasionally in pink bunny slippers—and cook fancy foods. (His perplexed pink octopus on a platter is hilarious.) Best friends like these are bound to have the occasional scrap, but the tension is ratcheting up. Rat calls Roach, "Toothpick, Crabby Head, FLEA!" Roach returns with "Hair Ball, Tuna Breath, MOUSE!" And then they stop talking altogether. Facing the loss of a friend is reason to ponder, even for a raucous rodent or crawly insect. In the fine tradition of A. M. Monson's Wanted: Best Friend (Dial, 1997) or Carolyn Crimi's Don't Need Friends (Doubleday, 1999), Rat and Roach gradually conclude that they're better off together. Covell tells this familiar story with unusual visual and verbal humor and a delightfully caustic lack of sentimentality. His artwork—pictures, font, layout, down to the most minute detail—is well worth a bunch of perusals.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Best friends don't always get along is the well-worn lesson of this tale of philosophically opposed urban pests. Rat and Roach are buds, but they can certainly get on each other's nerves. While casual Rat enjoys swimming through crud, making a mess and farting, the surprisingly meticulous Roach prefers tidiness, flower scents and (in the case of his cooking) originality. So can these two friends make up after a big fight? Readers won't spend a whole lot of time wondering, since the fight feels fairly arbitrary--if readers can spot it at all. The narrative opens with a lengthy, present-tense description of the friends' differences, then shifts to the past tense with what seems to be the aftermath of a specific but unseen argument, making it feel like a tension-free gag rather than a story. Covell's talents lie in his art, his book filled to brimming with spray-paint drips, clouds of noxious fumes and humorous details; the image of the two grumpy friends brushing their teeth in parallel is laugh-out-loud funny. But without a story, the illustrations, which are mostly displayed against a pure-white or light-gray background, aren't enough to raise the book from merely okay to new and interesting. In the end, there are plenty of odd-couple picture books already available. Consider this only for a readership ravenous for city-critter fiction. (Picture book. 4-8)
The New York Times Book Review
Covell's engaging text addresses the reader directly, wondering openly what will happen next; and it works in able counterpoint to the bold, simple illustrations…[he] draws his Rat and Roach halfway between adorable and creepy…His pictures are simple but not sweet; to me, in fact, they're aesthetically disturbing. I like Rat and Roach, Friends to the End exactly because I find it unusually ugly—and wonderfully appropriately so.
—Paul O. Zelinsky
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670014095
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/5/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 579,629
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Covell grew up in Maine, worked in Vermont, and moved to New York. He's not quite Rat, and not quite Roach, but he's known them both. He lives in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2012

    A delight for all ages, David Covell's first book about two unli

    A delight for all ages, David Covell's first book about two unlikely
    friends, a messy rat and a fastidious cockroach, will generate chuckles
    while reinforcing the message that lasting friendship requires
    acceptance of differences and the need to compromise and forgive.
    Roach's bunny slippers and rubber gloves (pink, of course) and Rat's
    flippers, slimy from sewer swimming are but a few examples of Covell's
    attention to the details of his characters and storyline. I love that
    Covell is both author and illustrator, which allowed him to truly
    present his book as he envisioned. I am looking forward to his next
    "messy" book. Classroom units emphasizing friendship and
    positive interpersonal relationships would surely be enhanced by the
    addition this charming book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Highly Recommended- CLEVER,WITTY and MEANINGFUL

    The illustrations are eye catching and clever!!
    The book captures the meaning and importance of being independent yet getting along with others despite having differences.
    The book teaches children to be good friends to one another!!
    Easy read!! Kids and parents will love it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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