This article is from the Mar./Apr. 1996 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Nichole Royer, Valencia, CA
Adventures of the Rat Family
Written by Jules Verne
Published by Oxford University Press, Inc.
Copyright 1993, Originally printed in 1887
Adventures of the Rat Family is a charming fairy tail, the only one Jules Verne ever wrote. It’s the story of a family of rats, a good fairy, a bad magician, and an evil prince, all the necessary ingredients of a good fairy tale. After seeing the illustration on the cover I had to buy this book no matter what. It is a very realistic and well drawn picture of a family of rats, including an albino. Considering the date of original publication (1887) I was very surprised to see the care and study that went into it. There are several more illustrations throughout the story, all well done. The story itself is very interesting, and somewhat revolutionary for the time in which it was written. It involves the tale of the rat family as they are reincarnated through a whole series of evolutionary steps. Thanks to the actions of the bad magician Gardafour, the family becomes oysters, birds, an assortment of other animals, and finally reach the “honor” of becoming human (with the exception of the father rat who says “dog, horse, ox, donkey, all are preferable to being a man”). Each member of the rat family has a very individual personality, and this leads to a good story. I enjoyed it very much myself, though others have said they thought it was somewhat strange. I would say this is a must for anyone who likes rats and books.
By Brian Jacques
Published by Avon Books
The charming tale of Mathias mouse, an unlikely hero who saves his home from destruction. Set in Mossflower country at Redwall Abby, this story tells of the adventures of Mathias as he searches for the lost sword of Martin the warrior which he needs to save his beloved Abby from Cluny the Scourge. Cluny is of course the “most savage bilge rat that ever jumped from ship to shore,” and he and his rodent horde have arrived to conquer and destroy the countryside. This story has lots of action, excitement, and suspense, along with charming woodland creatures and wonderful villains (even if they are rats). Many book stores carry these books, but often you have to look in the kids section to find them. I know that any kids who like reading will love this one, and most adults will too. It is just one of a series of stories Brian Jacques has written around the mice of Redwall, and I look forward to reading the others which include Mossflower, Mattimeo, and Mariel of Redwall.