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Walter: The Story of a Rat

by

Walter: The Story of a Rat Cover

ISBN13: 9781932425413
ISBN10: 1932425411
All Product Details

 

Awards

2006 Children's Choices

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Barbara Wersba's heartwarming story is perfectly complemented by Donna Diamond's exquisite drawings. Walter is a rat unlike any other rat. He can read and write. He lives, quietly and secretly, in the home of Amanda Pomeroy, a children's book writer. One day Walter discovers that Miss Pomeroy's books are all about a mouse and he is appalled. Well aware of the human propensity to dislike rats, Walter wants to discuss the subject with her. But first he must make contact. He writes a letter and so begins a correspondence which brings these two most unlikely house mates together as friends.

Review:

"Wersba's (Whistle Me Home) brief tale of a blossoming friendship introduces a literate rat, who 'christen[ed] himself Walter' after reading works by Sir Walter Scott, and the children's book author whose home he inhabits. The rat hero, who lives under the floorboards of a house owned by Miss Pomeroy, makes a discovery in her library one day. Not only has she written a children's book series about a secret-agent mouse, but he discovers many other authors who have also written about mice ('There was a whole flock of little books by a woman named Potter, which dealt obsessively with mice,' he observes disdainfully). Like Emmaline in Elizabeth Spires's The Mouse of Amherst, Walter begins communicating with Miss Pomeroy through notes, and he questions why authors never write about rats. In the satisfyingly sentimental finale, the author leaves for Walter a singular Christmas gift and the two finally meet. Wersba wryly interjects into her gentle narrative snippets of literature Walter has read, although many of the allusions will appeal more to older readers (a reference to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the movie The Maltese Falcon, etc.). The real charm here comes through Walter's close observations of his writer landlady, and through Wersba's gradual build to a friendship that seems inevitable. Diamond's half-tone illustrations strike a pleasing balance between realistic portraits of the hero while also allowing his personality to come through. Ages 8-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[T]his book gives readers some writing to remember and a chance to view the world from a different perspective." School Library Journal

Review:

"How the two lonely literary creatures...get together is moving and unpretentious." Booklist

Review:

"This soothing, old-fashioned tale, accompanied by precisely rendered pen-and-ink illustrations, is a tribute to books and bibliophiles." Hornbook Guide to Children

Review:

"Diamond's black-and-white drawings are a charming addition to the book and most are worth a second or third glance in their own right." Children's Literature

Review:

"Funny and poignant by turns, here's a sweetly quirky love story of letters." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"A sophisticated, quiet contemplation of the relationship between readers and writers that may appeal to thoughtful readers." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Review:

"Walter is the most engaging rat in literature since Ratty in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows...and it must be said that Donna Diamond's illustrations are, in their own way, as compelling as those of Ernest H. Shepard." The Southhampton Press

Review:

"Barbara Wersba...tells a poignant story of two lonely creatures who somehow find comfort in one another. She infused her book with literary snippets that entertain the knowing adult and whet the reading appetites of youngsters." Eleanor Edmondson, Bas Bleu, Bookseller-by-Post

About the Author

Barbara Wersba is the author of thirty books for young people, including her novel Tunes for a Small Harmonica: A Novel, a National Book Award nominee. A reviewer for the New York Times Book Review for many years, Wersba has also written for the stage and television. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York, where she runs a small publishing company called The Bookman Press.
Donna Diamond has illustrated numerous children's books as well as many book jackets. She lives in Riverdale, NY.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

jekrae, February 18, 2008 (view all comments by jekrae)
My 9 year old was home ill when I picked up Walter: The Story of a Rat and began reading it aloud. What a treat! It is a wonderful and sensitive story. I even found myself reading ahead while my son napped. We fell in love with Walter as well as all the illustrations. This book is definately a keeper!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Kirsten, August 17, 2006 (view all comments by Kirsten)
This lovely children's chapter book is about an elderly rat who lives in the home of a writer of children's books. He is intrigued by Miss Pomeroy and her loneliness, but is also hurt because she writes a series of books about heroic mice, with nary a rat to be found: "Walter sat on Miss Pomeroy's ladder studying these books, and he did not know whether to laugh or cry. He felt betrayed -- for why had Miss Pomeroy chosen to write about mice when she could have just as easily chosen rats? How could she not have known that rats are more interesting than mice, more intelligent, and more adaptable? To put it bluntly, how could she not have known that rats are more magnificent?"

Walter wants to make contact with Miss Pomeroy, so that he can ask her about why she has neglected rats so (in truth, he's rather angry), but he doesn't want to come right out and ask her first thing, so he writes her his first note: "My name is Walter. I live here, too." And the pair embark on what turns into a wonderful friendship. The drawings, by Donna Diamond, are great -- she clearly has a pet rat or has spent a lot of time with one, because all the poses are wonderfully ratty.
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(11 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781932425413
Subtitle:
The Story of a Rat
Publisher:
Boyds Mills Press
Illustrator:
Diamond, Donna
Author:
Wersba, Barbara
Author:
Diamond, Donna
Subject:
General
Subject:
Authors
Subject:
Rats
Subject:
Books and reading
Subject:
Animals - Mice Hamsters Guinea Pigs etc.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20051101
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 4 up to 6
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
64
Dimensions:
8.25 x 6.5 in 0.76 lb
Age Level:
08-12

Related Subjects

Children's » Middle Readers » General

Walter: The Story of a Rat
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 64 pages Front Street - English 9781932425413 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wersba's (Whistle Me Home) brief tale of a blossoming friendship introduces a literate rat, who 'christen[ed] himself Walter' after reading works by Sir Walter Scott, and the children's book author whose home he inhabits. The rat hero, who lives under the floorboards of a house owned by Miss Pomeroy, makes a discovery in her library one day. Not only has she written a children's book series about a secret-agent mouse, but he discovers many other authors who have also written about mice ('There was a whole flock of little books by a woman named Potter, which dealt obsessively with mice,' he observes disdainfully). Like Emmaline in Elizabeth Spires's The Mouse of Amherst, Walter begins communicating with Miss Pomeroy through notes, and he questions why authors never write about rats. In the satisfyingly sentimental finale, the author leaves for Walter a singular Christmas gift and the two finally meet. Wersba wryly interjects into her gentle narrative snippets of literature Walter has read, although many of the allusions will appeal more to older readers (a reference to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the movie The Maltese Falcon, etc.). The real charm here comes through Walter's close observations of his writer landlady, and through Wersba's gradual build to a friendship that seems inevitable. Diamond's half-tone illustrations strike a pleasing balance between realistic portraits of the hero while also allowing his personality to come through. Ages 8-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[T]his book gives readers some writing to remember and a chance to view the world from a different perspective."
"Review" by , "How the two lonely literary creatures...get together is moving and unpretentious."
"Review" by , "This soothing, old-fashioned tale, accompanied by precisely rendered pen-and-ink illustrations, is a tribute to books and bibliophiles."
"Review" by , "Diamond's black-and-white drawings are a charming addition to the book and most are worth a second or third glance in their own right."
"Review" by , "Funny and poignant by turns, here's a sweetly quirky love story of letters."
"Review" by , "A sophisticated, quiet contemplation of the relationship between readers and writers that may appeal to thoughtful readers."
"Review" by , "Walter is the most engaging rat in literature since Ratty in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows...and it must be said that Donna Diamond's illustrations are, in their own way, as compelling as those of Ernest H. Shepard."
"Review" by , "Barbara Wersba...tells a poignant story of two lonely creatures who somehow find comfort in one another. She infused her book with literary snippets that entertain the knowing adult and whet the reading appetites of youngsters."
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