Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Was A Rat!

No, I wasn’t really a rat, though I’m sure there are some misguided people out there who would disagree. I Was A Rat is a quick fun read by Philip Pullman, author of The Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass, etc.) It answers the question, “What happened to Cinderella’s coachmen and pages after the clock struck midnight?” Told with tongue in cheek humor the story takes us through the adventures of Roger who was a rat and now finds himself a boy. It is suggested that he missed being turned back into a boy at midnight because he was not where he was supposed to be (just like a typical kid) – he was off playing soccer with the palace page boys. At one point, he admits that being a rat was easier, (there are so many things to know about being a good boy), but despite all the misadventures he has before the resolution of the story, he knows that if he’d gone back to being a rat, he would have missed being a boy. Roger’s lack of knowledge about what it means to be a boy gets him into some serious trouble and he finds that the townspeople are only too eager to turn him into a monster. Things get pretty scary there for a while, but in the end the fairy princess saves the day. If you like altered (some might say fractured) fairy tales, give this one a try.

I picked this book up because I’m on a committee to pick two new titles for our Battle of the Books list. This is one of the recommended titles. I told someone it had been on my list to read anyway, but like so many other titles; I had just not made it to it before now. The truth is that it was not really on my official to read list – not the one where I write it down and then mark it off when I’ve read it. It was on my peripheral to read list. That’s the one where the titles sort of float around in my head. I keep seeing them on the shelves either at the library or the book store or they are mentioned in articles or what not. I don’t consciously plan to read them. Then one day all of a sudden it’s as though they stop floating around in my head and drop down on to the top of my list. That’s one reason I am now listening to Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl and have put myself on the holds list for Love, Stargirl. (And one more argument for listening to books on audio – my sons will often request that I get them a print copy of whatever I’m listening to – because they have heard just enough of the story to want to read the whole thing. Chances are if I recommend a book, they are hesitant to read it. Who wants Mom’s recommendation? However if they just happened to hear snippets of a good book on audio, they don’t see it as reading a book Mom recommended and so are more willing to read it. Who knew audio books could serve as a reader’s advisory tool?)
So, do you have a peripheral reading list? And if you do – what’s on it. Let me know.

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