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Rats!: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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The next time you see a rat you should give it a round of applause. Consider the facts: rats can gnaw through lead, wriggle through a hole the size of a quarter, and survive high doses of nuclear radiation. Rats have also managed to exploit us humans for all we?re worth?we?ve unintentionally provided them with food, shelter, and transportation. And contrary to popular belief, rats are quite clean. Some people keep them as pets. Some even ...
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Overview

The next time you see a rat you should give it a round of applause. Consider the facts: rats can gnaw through lead, wriggle through a hole the size of a quarter, and survive high doses of nuclear radiation. Rats have also managed to exploit us humans for all we’re worth–we’ve unintentionally provided them with food, shelter, and transportation. And contrary to popular belief, rats are quite clean. Some people keep them as pets. Some even worship them.

Armed with wit and scientific fact, award-winning natural history writer Richard Conniff gleefully delves into the fascinating and impressive world of the rat–one of the most successful animals on earth.

Discusses the physical characteristics, behavior, origins, various types, interaction with humans, and more of rats.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-From the endpapers that picture rats jammed together like commuters on a rush-hour subway to the erratic but exciting design and chapter headings that look slightly chewed, this volume is as entertaining as it is informative. Conniff opens with the amazingly fast life cycle of rats-giving birth for the first time at three months and again every three weeks, a female rat can have as many as 60 or 70 babies in one year. Species, biology, behavior, trivia, myths, and lore-all are here. The author discusses the damage and disease rats can cause and the wars humans wage against them, experimentation and ethics, rats as food, and rats as pets. The tone is always lively and the information is well balanced. The animals' intelligence (they are better at logic and navigation than humans and they have amazing memories) and survival skills (they can swim three days without stopping and can survive nuclear radiation) will impress even the most phobic readers. The design is colorful and busy, with pages crawling with photos and headings and captions that can, at times, be slightly hard to read. However, the writing is clear and conversational, and the author's contagious fascination with these creatures is sure to hold the attention of even reluctant readers.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A slick presentation combines chatty text and flashy design to delve into the lore and science of rats. Double-page spreads present brief discussions of some element of rat-study together with full-color photographs and sidebars. Topic headings include "What Big Teeth You Have and Other Basic Biology," "Mrs. Rat’s Humble Abode," "The Killer Rat," and "The War on Rats." Conniff’s (for adults: The Natural History of the Rich, p. 1088, etc.) text is full of interesting factoids, from the occasional presence of rats in White House file cabinets to their prodigious appetites (one rat can eat over 20 pounds of food a year) to the use of rats in laboratories. The photographs are striking, with images of rats leaping, eating, bathing, doing tricks, and (in one unforgettable shot) crawling out of a toilet. There is a peculiar tension in this package; on the one hand, there seems to be an effort to rehabilitate, or at least demystify, the rat—"Rats can, of course, be ferocious—but only when cornered"—but a flip, offhand tone tosses off pat phrases that counter this effect: e.g., "So how many rats do you really have in your town? Here is a reliable, scientific estimate: too many." This is complemented by bold colors that provide the background of many pages and faux-typewriter display type; these elements combine to emphasize the sensational, while the dense text provides sober, and potentially overlooked, reportage. This is a shame, as, flippant and occasionally condescending tone aside, there is quite a lot of substance to this offering—the child who is able to move past the neon will find much of interest within. (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375912078
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/10/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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