Rodent Rascals

illus. by Roxie Munro. 40p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. websites. Holiday House. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780823438600.
Gr 3–5—Munro's joyful ode to rodents is a refreshing take on these often maligned creatures. The book starts small with the pygmy jerboa and ends big with the capybara. Readers will gain a host of knowledge from the text; the entries on the naked mole rat, prairie dog, and African giant pouched rat contain fascinating information on how these animals survive in their environments or assist humans in complex tasks. The value and cleverness of rodents, particularly as they relate to daily life, are running threads throughout the work. The author also tackles a number of related myths; for example, lemmings "don't really commit suicide by jumping off cliffs into the sea as some say" but rather migrate when forced to by overpopulation. The artwork, created with India ink and colored acrylic inks on paper, is a pleasure to pore over. Illustrations are drawn to scale and skillfully communicate the rodents' physical appearance and hint at their temperament, resulting in an inviting and accurate work. The back matter goes into greater depth for each subject, providing scientific names, average sizes, and more.
VERDICT Even the most resistant of readers will fall in love with these rascally rodents. A fine selection for animal collections.

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