By the author of the Carnegie Medal-winning "Northern Lights" and the Smarties Prize-winning "Firework-Maker's Daughter".
Gr 4-7-Distracted by mischief and some soccer playing with boys in the castle, a rat who was transformed as a coachman for Cinderella's pumpkin coach doesn't make the midnight curfew and remains a small boy in a page's uniform. In this spin-off of the tale, Pullman magically weaves fairy tale, humor, and adventure in this story of Roger, a scruffy little boy who, when he presents himself at the London home of an old, childless couple, claims to have been a rat. Is he a terrible monster, a fairground freak, a thief, or just an ordinary little boy with the somewhat ratty habits of ordinary little boys? In a delightful and witty parody of the press (even the title reads like a supermarket tabloid, and pages of "The Daily Scourge" are interspersed throughout the text), the author exposes the media's fascination with the weird, the sensational, and the horrible, all at the expense of the truth. And the parody is not confined to the press. Pullman pokes fun at government officials, medical personnel, philosophers, psychology, the Royal family, and human nature in general as a richly varied cast of characters attempts to figure out whether or not Roger is a rat. The author leaves readers with some thought-provoking ideas about living with the consequences of one's wish; about the importance of what one does, not who one is; and about the power of love.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.