I Was a Rat!

Listening Library. Feb. 2022. 309p. $34. ISBN 9780593559277.
Gr 4-7–Pullman’s 1999 fairy-tale-adjacent, murine fable begets a delightful audio adaptation, gloriously dramatized by British actor Robert Glenister, who effortlessly showcases a dazzlingly vast cast. One moonlit night, a little boy in a torn uniform knocks on cobbler Bob and washerwoman Joan’s door announcing, “I was a rat.” The kind, childless couple welcome him, feed him (after teaching him to use a spoon), and name him Roger. Repeated attempts to find Roger’s family fail, making Bob and Joan his de facto parents. But Roger runs away after a school incident, gets trapped in a “freak show,” makes the wrong friends, and lands in prison. Extermination looms until a princess comes to his rescue and he’s finally allowed to go home for good.
VERDICT Even as he brilliantly exposes society’s ills, “His Dark Materials”–mastermind Pullman effortlessly entertains; Glenister keeps readers thoroughly enchanted throughout.

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