Overview

Award-winning Sonya Hartnett spins a tale for younger readers about mischief, siblings, and taking matters into your own hands. Sadie and Ratz are the names of Hannah's hands. They aren't animals, but they behave like wild beasts, says Dad. For one thing, they're always after four-year-old Baby Boy (whom Sadie wishes were a dog). They jump onto his head and try to rub his ears off. Baby Boy knows how to turn the tables, though, and when he spills milk on the carpet, he tells Grandma that Sadie and Ratz pushed ...
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Sadie and Ratz

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Overview

Award-winning Sonya Hartnett spins a tale for younger readers about mischief, siblings, and taking matters into your own hands. Sadie and Ratz are the names of Hannah's hands. They aren't animals, but they behave like wild beasts, says Dad. For one thing, they're always after four-year-old Baby Boy (whom Sadie wishes were a dog). They jump onto his head and try to rub his ears off. Baby Boy knows how to turn the tables, though, and when he spills milk on the carpet, he tells Grandma that Sadie and Ratz pushed him. But when Baby Boy goes too far, Hannah may have to send Sadie and Ratz on vacation to prove their innocence. Multi-award-winning author Sonya Hartnett brings her original sensibility, wry humor, and engaging characters to a younger audience, aided by Ann James's inviting illustrations.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Playful, spritely Hannah has two hands named Sadie and Ratz, personified to keep her company and do all manner of mischief in retaliation to her annoying sibling, four-year-old Baby Boy. Yet even before the conflict, strong character development, authentic voices, and fluidity of language set this beginning chapter book apart, as do the remarkable charcoal illustrations, full of tenderness and verve. Play is paramount, as the wildly imaginative Hannah copes with the blossoming presence of Baby Boy and unfailingly implicates Sadie and Ratz. Her mother suggests yoga for relaxation and the hands become snowflakes, but as soon as Baby Boy turns the bend, they revert to Hammerheads and he responds with his "banshee bull" scream. Yet when Baby Boy starts to blame Sadie and Ratz for his own bits of mischief, Hannah must take notice. She muses that he used to be, "a spaceman who never heard or spoke," but now has become tricky. She has to come up with a solution. Witnessing her thought process is unforgettable in its sincerity: "A horrible thought came into my head./Maybe Sadie and Ratz would have to change." Hartnett adeptly conveys the pain and loneliness of an older sibling facing a monumental moment of change and captures what growing up really means to a child. This joyful choice for reading aloud serves as a discussion starter on coping, acceptance, and maturity, and as an instruction manual on personal narratives. There are myriad ways to appreciate this pitch-perfect story.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Publishers Weekly
Lindgren Award–winner Hartnett has been writing for younger and younger readers in recent years, but whether her audience is teenagers (Butterfly), middle-graders (The Midnight Zoo), or now chapter-book readers, she remains willing to expose humanity’s more selfish and destructive tendencies, while handling such themes in a way that’s on-target and appropriate for her audience. In this three-chapter story, “strange things” are happening at the home of Hannah, a girl who is used to terrorizing her four-year-old younger brother, Baby Boy, with her very capable (and often vicious) hands, which she refers to as Sadie and Ratz. “Together, they make a good team. This is what they do: crush things up/ twist and scrunch/ scratch! scratch! scratch!” Given Sadie and Ratz’s rap sheet, when Baby Boy blames Sadie and Ratz for a string of accidents, no one believes he’s anything but a “good boy.” This emotionally fraught terrain is captured exquisitely in James’s perceptive charcoal drawings, which recall the work of Suzy Lee. Despite Hannah’s capacity for violence, Hartnett makes her sympathetic, even without a rosy “all’s well” ending—pray for Hannah and Baby Boy’s parents. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
A piercingly intelligent foray into chapter books...for big sisters and Baby Boys adjusting to each other. A real slice of family life, the sweet with the bitter.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Lindgren Award–winner Hartnett has been writing for younger and younger readers in recent years, but whether her audience is teenagers, middle-graders, or now chapter-book readers, she remains willing to expose humanity’s more selfish and destructive tendencies, while handling such themes in a way that’s on-target and appropriate for her audience.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Hartnett adeptly conveys the pain and loneliness of an older sibling facing a monumental moment of change and captures what growing up really means to a child. This joyful choice for reading aloud serves as a discussion starter on coping, acceptance, and maturity, and as an instruction manual on personal narratives. There are myriad ways to appreciate this pitch-perfect story.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews
Sadie and Ratz, Hannah's menacing hands, help her to handle her sibling rivalry in this piercingly intelligent foray into chapter books by much-awarded teen author Hartnett. Hannah lives with her parents and her stick insect, Pin. She would like to have a real pet, but all she has is the disappointing Baby Boy, who is the object of Sadie and Ratz's anger. When he does the things little brothers do (going into her room, changing the channel or using markers), Sadie and Ratz wake up, jump onto Baby Boy's head and rub his ears off. One day, the game is changed when Baby Boy starts acting like a crafty 4-year-old. He spills milk, writes on the wall and breaks a valuable timepiece but blames everything on his sister's naughty hands. When Pin is found missing a leg after Hannah sends her hands on vacation, the parents start to see the truth. The tale is accompanied by warm, expressive gestural charcoal drawings on every page that add much to the story, drawing readers' eyes to the characters' real feelings. Ending on the hopeful note that Baby Boy's hands and Hannah's hands are going to be friends, this is one story of sibling rivalry that seems realistic. The kids might not be friends, but their naughty hands can be! For big sisters and Baby Boys adjusting to each other. A real slice of family life, the sweet with the bitter. (Fiction. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763659905
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Sonya Hartnett is the winner of the 2008 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest award for lifetime achievement in children's and youth literature. She is also the author of many acclaimed young adult novels, including Surrender, The Ghost's Child, The Silver Donkey, Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf, What the Birds See, and Thursday's Child. Sonya Hartnett lives in Australia.

Ann James is the award-winning illustrator of more than sixty books for children, including The Midnight Babies, Little Humpty, and Lucy Goosey, written by Margaret Wild, and The Way I Love You, by David Bedford. Ann James lives in Australia.
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