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That Pesky Rat - Lauren Child

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Lauren Child / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 32 Pages / Book is published 2003-05-29 by Orchard

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    6 Reviews
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      28.07.2013 00:50
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      A charming story from Child that left me believing she is not a one trick pony after all.

      My children have been fans of the author Lauren Child for quite a long time after coming across her Charlie and Lola series of books which they loved watching as a cartoon as well as reading as a book. When I saw a bundle of books by this author, I was willing to take a gamble on them as we had certainly got our money's worth out of other books we own. Some of the books in the bundle were duds, but others, like this one, proved popular.

      The books main character comes in the form of a brown rat, otherwise known as that pesky rat, who lives in a bin. He is really envious of other animals he knows who live in houses with people and have pampered lives, and he wants to be just like them, only nobody has time for a common street rat.

      The story covers the type of life he wants to lead, and how he puts an advert in a pet shop window to try and find himself an owner. What follows is a heart warming and slightly comical tale from his point of view.

      Although the focus here is on an animals view point, the characterisation of this rat is done in such a way that the reader feels sorry for him and hopes that he does find himself a loving owner. I think any child who owns a pet will recognise the lifestyle of some of these pets and relate to their own life, and you can't but help to warm to this rat who just wants to be loved like everyone else.

      Although this is not what I would call one of my childrens favourite books, they do enjoy this one when we read it together. There is something in the illustrations which is the familiar style of Child. The people are really flat and 2D with funny noses, and each page contains a mix of bright drawings and photographs which combine to make a very eye catching feature of the book. The story does show evidence of Child using non-linear font which her books are well known for. Here it doesn't detract from the story in a negative way. In fact, in some ways it makes the story a bit more endearing, like when the text looks like it is being blown around from a hair dryer being used to describe the lifestyle of a pampered dog.

      Something about the rat really appeals to my children, and this is one that lingers on the book shelf, but when it reappears it is with fondness that we read it again.

      While not quite Charlie and Lola, this book proudly boasts a gold badge on the front cover from winning the gold Smarties Book Prize in 2002.

      Though this is over a decade ago, there is nothing in this book that dates to put a child off reading it. In fact, it has made me believe that Child is more than a one trick pony. She has made another character that children will warm to and want to hear more about. I give this 4 out of 5 stars due to being enjoyed but not being repeat requested over and over by my children. I recommend trying this one for yourself to find out if rat did indeed find someone to give him a loving home by the end of the story.

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        23.07.2013 19:24
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        Her unconventional style may take a some getting used to when reading the story but it's worthwhile

        That Pesky rat is written and illustrated by Lauren Child. It has become a favourite in our house not only with my two boys but with myself too. Lauren Child is most famously known for Charlie and Lola. I feel her work is very unique and she has a distinctive style. Just by looking at a book you can tell it is her work. She pushes boundaries not many people have with her illustration style and her unconventional text layout. This particular book won her, her second gold smarties award in 2002.

        The Pesky rat is a funny original story that I am sure like me you will find yourself laughing out loud whilst reading it to your child. It was bought as a gift for my eldest son and has been a well used one. Its retail price is £5.99 and would be worth paying every penny of that, it's simply a great book for all to enjoy.


        The story starts off on a sombre note as we are introduced to a pesky rat who is feeling sad he wants to be a pet just like his friends rather than living on the streets in a dustbin. He wants to belong to someone. We are introduced to some of rats friends like Pierre the chinchilla and Andrew the Scottie dog. They all have better life's then he has but not really what he is after. He decides to put an advert in a pet shop window to try and find an owner. The finale of the story does end happily but there is a twist you weren't expecting just to keep you on your toes.


        The illustrations in this book are typical of Lauren Child's style they are quirky and stylish and something that will keep your child's eye flitting around the page. I would say they definitely have a modern style to them. My son particular likes the picture of rat dressed up in a knitted jumper and shorts this really tickles him. I think all the illustrations are well thought out and cleverly incorporate the text at points too. They are lovely and colourful she is afraid to use lots of colours together. The text as I have mentioned is very unconventionally laid out this can take a bit of time getting used to if you haven't read any of her books before. My boys love it especially my five year old who has started reading and often tries to follow text as I read it. As well as the text swilling all over the page and within some illustrated items it is also printed in different sizes. As sentence is made of words that are printed at different sizes making some words stand out more than others. She is very descriptive within her story which I find is great as it brings it alive.


        My two son's aged five and three and a half love this book for its nice sweet story and its very different layout. They find everything about it fun. It gets your child thinking about pets too and some that are less fortunate. My eldest son has an Ikea soft rat which he has had since a toddler and this has now become the pesky rat that goes on many adventures with him. He has even named him after it! As an adult you are sure to enjoy the humour within it too. I found myself chuckling at the stereotypes of his other friend and how they lived. Accompanied with the wonderful pictures it is sure to have you smiling.

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        01.05.2010 12:43
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        An alley rat with dreams

        This is one of those books which my boys aged 7 and 9 keep bring back from the library every 6 weeks or so, and who can blame them..

        Written by Lauren Child which some people may know from the Charlie and Lola series, this book is based around something that everyone understands and dare I say dreams about - living a different life

        "Sometimes when I am tucked into my crisp packet,
        I look up at all the cosy windows and
        wonder what it would be like to live with creature comforts ...

        "that pesky Rat" is laid in bed going through all his friends analysing their lives, these include Pierre the chinchilla who lives in luxury being fed chocolates and sitting on cushions, sounds a great life to our little alley rat but Pierre has other options. What about Oscar the Siamese cat who has the run of the apartment whist his owner is out all day, so why isn't Oscar over the moon with happiness. Nibbles the circus bunny has a far from boring life she gets to walk the high wire and swing on the trapeze, but Nibbles isn't happy either. Then there is Andrew the Scottie dog he get to sit by the fire all day, supper provided on a tray and evenings spent doing puzzles, maybe he has the prefect life?

        In the morning the rat decides to get up and change his life by visiting the pet shop where Mrs Trill and rat have a plan to help him.

        This is a lovely book which has become a bit of a family favourite with bright illustrations which appeals to the littlest of readers but also older readers may appreciate the morals behind the story that "grass isn't always greener on the other side" and "be careful what you wish for"

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        25.11.2009 07:49
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        a fabulous book for young children

        WE were at our local library and my daughter spotted a book that she knew well as it had been read many times at her nursery. The said book - That Pesky Rat - is written by the excellent Lauren Child, whose books we always look out for ever since my daughters fell in love with her creations of Charlie and Lola. I didn't know this book but I was impressed to note on the front cover that it was the gold winner of the Smarties Book Prize in 2002!

        I have to confess that I am not the world's biggest rat fan, but having said that, the rat in this book is quite endearing, especially the way he tells his own story about how he would love to be someone's pet and also about how he would love to have a name rather than just be known as 'that pesky rat'.
        The book starts by the rat telling us that:

        'I am a brown rat. A street rat.
        But people call me that pesky rat.
        I don't know why.
        They say I smell,
        But that's not my fault, it's the dirt'.

        You get the sense that this rough is quite a tough operator but that he has a soft sensitive side too. This becomes particularly apparent as he describes all of his friends who all are somebody's pet! For example his friend Pierre, who is a chinchilla is looked after by Madame Fifi, a very rich lady. However, life is not always a bed of Roses for Pierre especially when he is made to have baths. Oscar is a Siamese cat who lives with a busy businessman. He can always do what he likes but sometimes it can be a bit boring doing things on his own. It goes on like this with the pesky rat envying many of his friends' lives as pets even though they tell him that things are not always perfect!

        Even after everything he has heard though, the rat decides that he still would like to be someone's pet. He writes his own notice to put up in the pet shop window even though the shopkeeper is doubtful that he will get any takers. However, it is sometimes said that there's someone for everyone, and I guess that is especially true when one has bad eyesight and the other has bad handwriting! As a consequence, the pesky rat does find a new owner and he is given a new name as well. Can you guess what it might have been? You will probably have to read the book to find out but it does provide an amusing twist at the end of this very entertaining story.

        This was a very enjoyable and heart warming story that I loved reading with my youngest daughter. The rat is a great character and also quite different from many of the characters you find in young children's books. He is a bit of a rough. Tough cookie and I really like the way that he is telling the story as it helps the young reader to empathise with him.

        If you are already familiar with Lauren Child's books you will notice many trademark features in this book. She does lots of interesting things with the text such as varying the size of the font and drawing attention to particular words by making them bold. She does not always set out her words in a conventional manner and they are placed in all manner of positions and shapes and sometimes you have to look quite carefully to make sure that you don't miss anything. This all makes it fun to read but could also be quite confusing for children who are just starting to read confidently. Also, as she sometimes writes using incomplete sentence structures, it will not help children who are just learning how to construct sentences in their own writing.

        The visual images on each page are amazing. Lauren Child definitely likes to experiment with wacky colours and backgrounds and all her illustrations have more than a touch of humour within them. They are wonderful to look at and worth taking some time to completely absorb, although, on just a few pages, I feel that the image is just a bit too busy. Overall though every single page is a joy to behold!

        This is a brilliant book with a great main character and a quirky story line. We really loved this book and thoroughly recommend it to anyone with small children.

        The book is currently available on Amazon for £4.11.

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        09.10.2009 21:45
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        This is one of my daughterds favourite books, she's had it since she was two, when I would read it to her in bed, and she still loves reading it now she's six .

        It's written by Lauren Child, who is also the author of the popular Charlie and Lola series, and fans of Charlie and Lola will see some obvious similarities in the style of illustration, with pictures being a mixture of simple crayon drawings with some lovely collage effects - bits of wallpaper are utilised to make patterns, and even crisp packets and litter make an apperance . This blend of cartoonish sketches, big block colours and photographed collages makes every illustration eye catching end interesting, not just to my daughter, but to me .

        The story is very sweet, with our hero, the rat, thinking about his problems - he's homeless, he's lonely, and he's considered a pest by everyone . It just doesn't seem fair - after all, plenty of his animal friends have nice warm homes with kind loving owners, all the food they can eat , toys to keep them amused and a warm fire to lounge in front of. It's just not fair that while they live in the lap of luxury, he lives in a bin, out on the cold noisy streets, bored and lonely. He imagines what it would beike to belong to somebody, to be loved, and to be an actual pet. He sets about getting his wish by advertising himself in a pet shop window, but will he get what he wants?

        This book is delightfully silly, and yet touching at the same time- I found myself rooting for the rat to get what he wanted, as well as laughing at the silly pampered lifestyles of all his animal friends. The book is simply written, and my daughter can now read this by herself easily.

        I love this book, and it's stood the test of time in my house, with my daughter showing no signs of getting bored with it yet . It is amusing, well illustrated, and original, and I give it 5 stars!

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          19.10.2008 02:13
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          A great story - perfect for bedtime

          We just borrowed 'That Pesky Rat' from the library and have read it a few times now. Our eldest daughter (3 years old) is a huge Charlie and Lola fan and as this book is written by the same author, Lauren Child, we thought we'd give it a go!

          The story is all about a rat who lives on the streets in a bin. He has many friends who are proper pets with owners and he longs to be like them and be given a real name and to be pampered and spoilt like they are! But he knows that people don't really like him and call him 'that pesky rat'. The book goes through each of his animal friends as he describes how nice their lives are compared to his and each one has various funny traits and aspects of their lives as pets. He then goes to see his friend the pet shop owner who agrees to put a sign up that the rat has made to advertise himself to prospective owners! Eventually he is taken in by a man who mistakes him for a cat but he is willing to go along with this as it means his dream of being a pampered pet is realised...even though it means he has to wear a silly jumper!

          The story is delightfully silly and wonderfully illustrated and is a perfect length for bedtime reading! It seems to have a nice rhythm to the text too and has certainly been a hit with our children. Unfortunately, it's due back at the library soon so we may have to ask Santa to bring a copy at Christmas...

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