that pesky ratby Published 01 Jan 1970
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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. To belong to somebody, to be an actual pet.
This is the funny, touching tale of how a pesky street rat finds home, sweet home!
"that pesky rat" Reviews
Aww.... Don't let your tears get jerked until the end, though, as some of the text is obscured by the pictures and you don't want to miss any of it!
(Not part of any of her series; a stand-alone story. But it could be paired with her Who Wants to Be a Poodle I Don't.)
Another one that requires a funny voice. Plus you have to wrinkle your little ratty nose when you read. (Oh, come on, it'll be fun.)
The pesky rat introduces himself by telling us how cute he is, that he lives in dustbin number 3, Grubby Alley, and that every now and again he returns home to find that someone has emptied all his belongings into a big van and driven off with them. Not surprisingly he finds this 'very upsetting'.
He is known as the pesky rat because people say that he smells but he tells us that it is not his fault, 'it's the dirt'! He admits that he would love to have a name rather than 'that pesky rat' and that he would like to belong to someone, 'to be an actual pet'.
He has a friend, Pierre, who is a chinchilla and who has a very glamorous life because he is looked after by Madame Fifi, living in the lap of luxury in a fashionable apartment. When he visits he sits on a cushion but Madame Fifi does shampoo him once a week but he does not like having baths; he says, 'I am allergic to soap'.
He also has a friend Oscar, who is a Siamese cat and who lives with Mr Washington, a business man who is always at work and therefore does not have time to wash fur or be strict. Pesky says that if he lived there he would be able to do whatever he liked. Oscar tells him that he gets his own supper, 'I'm quite good in the kitchen,' he says, but that he gets bored watching the same old shows on television. And he hates to get bored, he says.
A lop-eared rabbit, Nibbles, that Pesky knows works in a circus with Mr Hoopla and has an exciting life, swinging on the trapeze and tip-toeing on the high wire; Pesky says he would love to do that. But Nibbles tells him that hopping through hoops in a tutu and wearing a clown's nose can get quite tiring. Pesky thinks about this and decides that the circus life might be 'all a bit nerve wracking for me'.
He dreams about being owned by Miss StClair, who has a Scottie dog named Andrew and who enjoys just sitting by the fire, having supper on a tray and doing puzzles with Scottie in the evenings. Andrew tells Pesky that he feels very well looked after and that he enjoys going shopping with Miss StClair when he wears a matching coat to her. Pesky feels that clothes would not suit him but even so he would still like to be somebody's pet!
The following morning he goes to the pet shop and asks owner Miss Trill if she has an owner who might want him. She tells him that there is not much call for brown rats and after Pesky tells her that he is good company, will eat anything and is always popping up when least expected, she tells him that a notice in her window might attract an owner.
In paw (nice pun Lauren) writing, Pesky puts a notice in the shop window and waits, and waits and waits ... until ... Mr Fortescue spots the notice and, even though he has such bad eyesight, he manages to read it and says, 'I'll take him.' Mrs Trill is so surprised she asks, 'Are you sure?' 'Oh yes, I've been looking for a brown cat as nice as this one for ages,' replies Mr Fortescue. Pesky and Mrs Trill look at each other perplexed but neither say a word.
So Pesky has an owner; he just loves being a pet and he is very helpful around the house and is always there when Mr Fortescue comes home and he doesn't even bother if he has to wear a little jumper! Mr Fortescue regularly says, 'Well, Tiddles, who's a pretty kittycat?' And Pesky squeaks, 'I am!'
Everybody is happy in this rather touching, and well illustrated in the usual charming Lauren Child fashion, story.
'That Pesky Rat' is a book that demands to be read aloud to do all of the 'voices' of the characters and Lauren Child's illustrations are wonderful. On the surface it is a story of a rat that finds his way to a new home, which is the level that it would be on for children, but if you scratch the surface, you can see there is more to it than that.
This book made me think about the way humans view certain animals. Why is it that we will allow a possibly flee-ridden cat or dog into our homes but are completely repulsed by the idea of a pet rat? It is only when a semi-blind man turns up at the pet shop and believes the rat is a cat that the pesky rat is able to have a happy, demonstrating that sometimes love is blind.
I love this book. It's so funny and also love the illustrations. Reminds me of Cannonball Simp.