Cover image for That pesky rat
That pesky rat
Child, Lauren.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
A brown street rat, who longs to be someone's pet and to have his very own name, gets lucky when he meets a man in the pet shop who has extremely poor eyesight.
Reading Level:
AD 570 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.2 0.5 61749.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.3 2 Quiz: 33542 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Newstead Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Clearfield Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Audubon Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Frank E. Merriweather Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



The creator of Clarice Bean has conjured up a clever alley critter so appealing--and so hilarious--that young readers will be begging to take him home.

Sometimes . . . I look up at all the cozy windows and wonder what it would be like to live with creature comforts . . . to be a real pet. Most of all I would like to have a name, instead of just that pesky rat.

A glamorous life in the lap of luxury like Pierre the chinchilla would be
very nice. But really, our hero's not that fussy - he just wants to belong to somebody. With his cute, pointy brown face and beady eyes, why can't he get someone to take him home? Even a notice posted at the local pet store seems fruitless, until one day a nearsighted old man stops in and speaks the amazing words: "I'll take him." After all, he says, he's been looking for ages for a brown cat as nice as this.

In her latest tour de force, acclaimed author-illustrator Lauren Child introduces a surprisingly endearing character, and assures young readers there's enough love for all of us.

Author Notes

Lauren Child (born in 1965 in England) is an English author and illustrator. She is best known for writing the Charlie and Lola books and Clarice Bean novels. Her second book in this series, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble, was shortlisted for the 2005 British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year. A number of spin off books are available based on the scripts of the TV shows, though these were not written or illustrated by Child. Charlie and Lola has been sold throughout the world, and has won many prizes, including BAFTAs in 2007 for Best children's Television Show and Best Script. She writes the Ruby Redfort series. Book six, Blink and You Die, is on the bestseller list.

Lauren Child lives in London. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 3. People call him "that pesky rat." He lives alone in trash can number 3, in Grubby Alley. And sometimes at night he lies awake, wondering what it would be like to belong to somebody, to be a pet, to enjoy creature comforts, and most of all, to have a name, instead of being just that pesky rat. To be like his friends, such as Pierre the chinchilla, who lives in the lap of luxury with Madame Fifi; or Nibbles, the lop-eared rabbit, who works in a circus with Mr. Hoopla. That would be the life. Or would it? After all, there are those baths to consider and the clothes one might have to wear. Oh, what's a rat to do? The answer that British author-illustrator Child comes up with is eminently satisfying for all concerned, including the reader. The cleverly conceived and executed story is greatly enhanced by the wacky collage pictures. They are great fun to look at, and they are also surprisingly effective at creating character and atmosphere. The eccentric placement and arrangement of text occasionally make it a bit difficult to read, but more often this simply adds to the carnival atmosphere of a very funny story that kids will want to read again and again. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this uplifting tale, a needle-nosed rodent yearns "to belong to somebody. To be a real pet. Most of all I would like to have a name, instead of just that pesky rat." The trash-can resident envies his apartment-dwelling buddies, like the chinchilla who grouses, "It's not all cushions and chocolates," and the Scottish terrier who doesn't like to wear a plaid coat: "It's kind of embarrassing when we go shopping." Undeterred by his friends' compromises, the rat posts a flyer ("looking for kindly owner with an interest in cheese") and hangs around a pet store, until a man with poor eyesight mistakes him for a cat and adopts him. Child (Beware of the Storybook Wolves) sketches her characters in a thick, loose black line, then uses these drawings in high-voltage photo-collages. Her crazy-quilt compositions, which include cutout pictures of furniture and bathroom tiles, patterned fabric and wood-grain wallpaper, suggest a skewed world where a city rat might endear himself to an eccentric fellow; it also helps that the sympathetic title character speaks in the first person. Instead of highlighting the rat's sneakiness, the redemptive ending conveys his devotion: "So what if I have to wear a sweater? Mr. Fortesque says, `Well, Tiddles, who's a pretty kittycat?' And I squeak, `I am!' " Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-He doesn't have a home or an owner, and, most of all, he doesn't have a name-and that pesky brown rat wants all three. He wants "to live with creature comforts. To belong to somebody. To be a real pet." In this hilarious paean to dreaming big (and learning to compromise), the rodent looks at Pierre the chinchilla, who belongs to Madame Fifi; Nibbles the rabbit, who works in a circus; and Andrew the Scottie dog, who lives with Miss St. Clair. All seem to have ideal lives, although Pierre endures a shampoo once a week; Nibbles walks the high wire, and maybe that's a little too nerve-racking; and Andrew has to wear a little hat and coat when he goes shopping with his owner. When nearsighted Mr. Fortesque misreads the rat's handwritten notice in a pet store ("Brown rat looking for kindly owner with an interest in cheese"), the critter is in luck. "My, what a pointy nose you have, and, goodness me, what a long tail, and such unusual beady eyes.-I've been looking for a brown cat as nice as this one for ages," says the Magoolike man. There, on the last page of this sprightly book, illustrated with goofy collages and bright, bold watercolor drawings, is the rat, happy at last, and dressed in a little sweater. And when Mr. Fortesque asks, "Well, Tiddles, who's a pretty kittycat?" he squeaks, happily, "I am!"-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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