Monday, February 25, 2008

Nonfiction Monday: Oh, Rats!

Oh, Rats!
Albert Marrin

Rats have never been a topic I was fascinated in, but I read a couple of blog entries about this book last year and was intrigued. I must say that I learned a lot about rats from it, although I must confess that I still don’t care for them. For those who like rats, and for those who like to be grossed out, this is a great book.

Marrin begins this book by exploring the characteristics of rats and then moves on the complicated relationship between rats and people. He does an excellent job exploring the worldwide impact of rats upon humans, although the majority of the focus is on Europe. I was amazed at the number of cultures that eat rat (although I probably shouldn’t have been). I was amused at some of the methods employed by people to get rid of rats, especially the idea of putting them on trial. The section on the bubonic plague didn’t really have information I hadn’t read elsewhere, but it was interesting (I did like the section on remedied for the plague although it would take a lot to get me to drink a handful of urine every day).

The only thing I could complain about is that in places I think the book could have been better written. There are some awkward sentences that an editor should have caught and had the author rework. Overall, however, this is going to be a great nonfiction booktalk for middle schoolers.

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