Synopsis from Restless Books:
Fred and her math-teacher mom are always on the move, and Fred is getting sick of it. She’s about to have yet another birthday in a new place without friends. On the eve of turning thirteen, Fred sees something strange in the living room: her mother, dressed for a party, standing in front of an enormous paper lantern—which she steps into and disappears.
Fred follows her and finds herself in the Land of Impossibility—a loopily illogical place where time is outlawed, words carry dire consequences, and her unlikely allies are a depressed white elephant and a pugnacious mongoose mother of seventeen. With her new friends, Fred sets off in search of her mom, braving dungeons, Insult Fish, Fearsome Ferlings, and a mad Rat Queen. To succeed, the trio must find the solution to an ageless riddle.
Gorgeously illustrated and reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Rivka Galchen’s Rat Rule 79 is an instant classic for curious readers of all ages.
About: Rat Rule 79 is a middle grade fantasy written by Rivka Galchen and illustrated by Elena Megalos. It will be published on 9/10/2019 by Restless Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Restless Books, paperback, 224 pages. The genres are middle grade, fantasy, fiction, and adventure. This book is intended for readers ages 10 and up, grades 5 and up. According to the publisher’s website, “Restless Books is an independent, nonprofit publisher devoted to championing essential voices from around the world, whose stories speak to us across linguistic and cultural borders. We seek extraordinary international literature that feeds our restlessness: our hunger for new perspectives, passion for other cultures and languages, and eagerness to explore beyond the confines of the familiar.” Please see below for more information about the author, illustrator, and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Rat Rule 79 on 8/28/2019 and finished it on 8/29/2019. This book is an excellent read! I love the activities Fred and her mom play with paper and pen. This adventure book is interesting. I like Downer the elephant because he’s not afraid to fail so he’s not afraid to try new things. I like that this story promotes thinking outside the box because of word play between Fred and the Owl. Fred’s favorite meal of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches on raisin bread is really out there.
This book is told in the third person point of view following Fred, 12 going on 13 as she sat down to eat some takeout lo mein noodles with her mom, a math professor, using paper plates. They ate on paper plates because they have just moved yet again into a new place in a new city and have yet to unpack. Fred and her mom’s fortune cookies delivered some weird messages and it upsets Fred more on top of moving. Her mom told her to go to sleep and to know that she’s loved. Fred is mad and instead of sleeping she stayed up late and caught her mom walking into a big paper lantern. She decided to do the same but found herself locked in a dungeon with an elephant instead of with her mom. In the dungeon, the elephant named Downer introduced Fred of Rat Rule 79 where many things are illegal including birthday parties, growing older, keeping time, etc while they looked for a way to leave the dungeon to find Fred’s mom when a knock knock came at the door. The second view is the narrator.
Rat Rule 79 is very well written and such an interesting twist of words. It makes me stop and think or re-read passages to understand what I’m reading. I feel like the twisty sentences played a trick on me sometimes. I have never read any story quite like this. It’s very unique and different. The story takes an unexpected turn every page and I can’t tell where it will go next. The chapter titles are unique as well. It’s an excellent adventure in the Land of Impossibility and I recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: twisty words/sentences, animals, adventure, friendships, thinking outside the box
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Rivka Galchen is an award winning fiction writer and journalist who loves noodles and numbers and modest-sized towns where her dad might have worked. Her work appears often in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The London Review of Books and The New York Times. She is the author of three books: Atmospheric Disturbances (Novel, FSG, 2008), American Innovations (Short Stories, FSG 2014) and Little Labors (Essays, New Directions, 2016). She has received numerous prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Fellowship, The Berlin Prize and The William J Saroyan International Prize in Fiction. In 2010, she was named to The New Yorker’s list of 20 Writers Under 40. Galchen also holds an MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Rat Rule 79 is her first book for young readers. (Photo and info obtained from Restless Books’ website).
Illustrator: Elena Megalos was raised in the City of Angels. When she was twelve-going-on-thirteen she dreamed of writing the cookie fortunes for her beloved neighborhood Chinese restaurant, The Unicorn. That, or illustrating a book for children. This is her first one. See more work at elenamegalos.com. (Info obtained from Edelweiss).
More Information about Restless Books:
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the publisher, Restless Books, for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.