There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat: And Other Vile Little Poems

Overview

There was a man who loved a rat. He fed it ham till it got fat.
He kept it in his bed at night, and rather hoped it wouldn't bite.

A man who keeps a chicken in a cube and feeds it through a tube. A man who came to harm because three gerbils bit his arm. A cunning little mobster who kept a large and lively lobster. This collection of absurd verse and quirky line illustrations will charm children and adults ...

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Overview

There was a man who loved a rat. He fed it ham till it got fat.
He kept it in his bed at night, and rather hoped it wouldn't bite.

A man who keeps a chicken in a cube and feeds it through a tube. A man who came to harm because three gerbils bit his arm. A cunning little mobster who kept a large and lively lobster. This collection of absurd verse and quirky line illustrations will charm children and adults alike. If Shel Silverstein had collaborated with Edward Gorey, the fruits of their effort may well have resembled this book.

With its fun trim size and abundant humor, There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat is bound to become a lasting favorite and crossover hit.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Nicola Turner
At the age of 83, Gerda Rovetch has published her first book in collaboration with her daughter. The poems are a short four lines each and resemble a limerick with their jaunty rhyme and humorous subject matters. Limericks were made popular by Edward Lear in the 19th Century and in later years were often associated with bawdy humor. Rovetch stays true to the spirit of Lear's nonsense poems. Her characters find abandoned kidneys, stuff sardines down their pants, and attack people with lobsters. The illustrator's art work complements the poems beautifully and is reminiscent of some of Edward Gorey's illustrations. Gorey also illustrated for Lear and another great nonsense master, Hilaire Belloc. The original art was done on paper plates and the poems and illustrations are "served" opposite each other on round white circles with colorful backgrounds. I can imagine everyone from kindergarteners up will enjoy these silly verses. Older students—and their teachers—might have fun trying to write them. Reviewer: Nicola Turner
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3- While calling the 14 offerings in this thin collection "vile" is a bit of a stretch, the subjects are certainly unusual. Ranging from a man who keeps his beloved lima bean "in a velvet bag/and only took it out to brag" to an individual who stores sardines in his jeans ("And when some slipped down on the floor-/that man would just stuff in some more"), there's an eccentric story on every spread. While the content is entertaining, the opening lines do make the four-line verses easy to confuse with limericks: "There was a man who lived in Sydney/who found a large abandoned kidney./And at a loss of what to do,/he slowly stuffed it in his shoe." Each poem is paired with a witty cartoon on the facing page that brings its nonsense to life. These black-ink line drawings, done on white paper plates with a single note of color, pop from their bright circular borders. Add this to collections where farcical poetry is popular.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

Kirkus Reviews
This mother-daughter collaboration pairs 14 verses of four lines each to comically serious illustrations originally drawn on paper plates. The poems are limericks in content, if not form: "There was a man who lived in Sydney / who found a large abandoned kidney. / And at a loss of what to do, / he slowly stuffed it in his shoe." Each round picture interprets the facing text (which is also in a round frame) literally, and is drawn in a heavy, fluid ink line with single-color highlights; most of the figures add to the hilarity by scowling or looking dismayed at the surreal situations in which they find themselves. Fans of Shel Silverstein will find themselves on familiar ground here, both verbally and visually-even readers with short attention spans or an aversion to poetry will happily chuck this down like the bonbon it is. (Poetry. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399250149
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/27/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.22 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerda Rovetch lives in Boulder, CO.

Her daughter Lissa Rovetch lives in Corte Madera, CA.

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