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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Walter, The Story of a Rat. Written by Barbara Wersba and illustrated by Donna Diamond. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011. $9.95 ages 9 and up

""For reasons he could not explain, Walter had been born with the ability to read. He had never known another rat who had this ability, but from the day he opened his eyes he was able to decipher printed words."

What a truly lovely and inspiring story! I had not read it before and was delighted to get a copy for review. I will read it again, and share it with many. You know there are books about rats that turn your initial impression of them on its ear; Justin and Nicodemus who help the Frisby family, or Remy from Ratatouille, come to mind. You are in for a treat when you meet Walter, a literate and lonely mouse who lives in Miss Pomeroy's house.

His ability to read is a godsend, as Miss Pomeroy is a published author whose library boasts a plethora of wondrous books that hold his attention and provide long hours of learning and relaxation. As many of us have discovered, once you start reading it is nigh on impossible to stop. Such is the case for Walter.

This compassionate tale of warm friendship offers gorgeous language that begs to be read aloud. It is short but packs a wallop! I marked many passages to be read again and even copied into my journal. There were so many times that I just wanted to read it to someone right then and there. This is a book that I will buy for my gift be given to anyone who might love the tale of an honest, inquisitive, admirable and simple RAT.

Donna Diamond's black-and-white illustrations offer images that add to the quiet power of the the reader a window into Walter's world and his growing curiosity and admiration for Ms. Pomeroy. There are framed full-page illustrations infused with light and many small spot pictures that add interest and understanding.

What magic there is in a life of reading!

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