Oh, Rats!

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Aug. 2019. 192p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534426849.
Gr 3-7–Phoenix is a lucky squirrel. He was the largest in his litter, has the most luxurious tail, and can climb the tallest trees of all the squirrels in New Jersey. His luck runs out when he is kidnapped by a chatty red-tailed hawk named Walter. But Walter doesn’t have the best grip, and with Phoenix being so large, Walter drops Phoenix across the river…in Manhattan. This turn of events finds Phoenix dealing with hot tar, which burns off his fur. Then he falls into the Hudson River. Facing certain death, he is rescued by Lucy and Beckett, sister and brother rats. They take pity on Phoenix, and soon the community of wharf rats accept him as one of their own. When the rats discover that a New York developer is tearing down their home to build tennis courts, they organize themselves into a resistance movement. With his talent at climbing tall things, Phoenix is enlisted to sabotage the electrical grid. The results are surprising, even to Phoenix. When Walter returns and offers Phoenix a ride back home, Phoenix must choose the life that has the most purpose. Seidler develops engaging characters for whom readers will root.
VERDICT This is a charming tale of finding oneself and choosing one’s own destiny. A solid purchase for most libraries

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