Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Just this very minute, I have finished one of the best children's novels I have read all year! All I can say is, Finally! I feel like it's been months since anything truly wonderful crossed my desk. Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, by Lynne Jonell, is extremely well-written, with bathroom humor, pathos, and believable and sympathetic characters of both the human and rodent kind.

Emmy is a very rich, very lonely little girl. Her parents are constantly going off on long trips and leaving her with a horrible nanny, Miss Barmy. Worse, she recently changed schools and no one in her class acts like she exists. When Emmy starts hearing the class pet rat talking to her, a whole exciting and fantastical series of events unfold.

The rat has special powers; in fact, he is one of many rodents with special powers, most of them living in a shop in town where the evil Professor Vole does experiments with them. Soon Emmy begins to learn the powers of the other rodents and she realizes that Miss Barmy is using the rodents to control her, her parents, and even her classmates! Miss Barmy is after Emmy's family's fortune and she will stop at nothing to get it.

Emmy, the rat, and Emmy's new friend Joe join forces to stop Miss Barmy's evil plan. Using the resourcefulness of the other rodents, some ingenious catapults, and a lot of sneaking around, they wage war against Miss Barmy with hilarious and satisfying results.

This book has everything a good children's novel should: abandoned children, talking animals, a truly evil villian, and a little bit of magic. Hooray!

I mustn't forget to mention the terrific illustrations by Jonathan Bean on each page of the novel. As the reader creeps through the story, a rat creeps across a tree branch and then falls, very slowly, into outstretched hands. It is a flipbook and a beautifully done one, too.


1 comment:

LJ said...

Thanks; you made my day!