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Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (Emmy and the Rat) Paperback – September 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Emmy has memories of a loving home, caring parents, and close friends. However, since her family inherited a fortune, moved into a new home, and Emmy got a nanny named Miss Barmy, life has gone terribly awry. The child often feels invisible at school, and her parents take increasingly long trips and don't seem to care about her. A talking rat that serves as the class pet is the only creature that really seems to notice Emmy. Oddly, he doesn't talk to anyone else. One day, in frustration, Emmy frees the class pet, unleashing an increasingly wild series of events in which Emmy, the rat, her friend Joe, and a cadre of intriguing characters discover that Miss Barmy is using rats with special powers to control and influence Emmy's family. Lynne Jonell narrates her debut novel (Holt, 2007), perfectly portraying everything from Emmy's dire predicament to the rat's hilarious attempts to find stardom. Her pacing is spot-on. The cast of unique characters, both rodent and human, are brought to life in vivid, and often humorous fashion by a full cast. Tim and Tate Green do a wonderful job of capturing the personalities of Emmy and her cantankerous companion. This audiobook provides loads of fun, a touch of fright, and plenty of intrigue to keep listeners thoroughly engaged.—Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Public Library, UT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Emmy's world has turned upside down. Since her family inherited a fortune, her parents have become obsessed with status and money, her teachers and fellow students ignore her, and her welfare has been left in the hands of her coldhearted nanny, Miss Barmy. Now, she can hear the class pet, a rat, talking. What's going on? Jonell takes readers on a merry, sometimes scary, romp, as Emmy enters the Antique Rat store and learns about a world of rodents with eclectic powers that are being used by Miss Barmy to get control of Emmy's family and their fortune. Although the considerable action is sometimes convoluted, and a couple of dropped story lines are hastily stitched up, this tale turns smoothly on its fanciful premise and fabulous characters. As in so many stories featuring a rat, the sneaky rodent gets the best lines; so it is here with Rat, who is by turns boastful, whiny, maudlin, and menacing. It's fun to watch remarkably good Emmy and especially bad Barmy spar, and the revelation of the nanny's secret admirer speaks to the endurance of true love. Inside, the book is decorated with a picture of a tree limb and a climbing rat. Flip the pages, and Rat tumbles and falls. Cooper, Ilene --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Emmy and the Rat (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312384602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312384609
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Lingel on January 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I struggled with what to do with this book.

On the one hand, this was a book I devoured. I read it from start to finish -- I think I skipped a meal -- and was grinning the entire time.

What a fun story. Emmy, completely unnoticed by her classmates, ignored by her parents, mistreated by the nanny left in her charge, wants only her old life back: before her parents came into money. Nothing seems to have gone right. Her parents are now obsessed with long vacations and long hours, her classmates have forgotten her, and the class pet rat keeps talking to her. Yes, the rat talks. But only Emmy can hear him. All of these things bother Emmy, and in part because she has no clue why any of them have happened at all. But the answers are coming. And there's no predicting, at least at the beginning, as to what those answers are.

And therein lies the part of the book that I struggle with. Without going into details (risking spoilers), I will say simply this: rodents are incredibly powerful creatures. Rats, mice, gerbils, ferrets, you name it. Used wisely, they allow for so much. As plot devices go, I thought it was fun. Especially the professor who gets too close to one of his experiments and therefor falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. I suspect he would be able to solve the issue, except that every time he gets close....out like a light.

But the fun, quirky gimmick struggles. While tt has you smiling every time a new rodent is introduced -- this one makes people sleepy, this one makes them grow up faster, this one enables you to speak to animals -- something about it just doesn't seem to fit. The gimmick exists amid a conflict that is too real, and too sinister.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A diabolical nanny, a clever thoughtful little girl and a talking rat face off in this deliciously witty and intelligent story. Emmy is an exceedingly well-behaved girl who enjoyed life with her parents and had many friends before an inheritance from a great uncle brings an end to cozy family interactions and Emmy and her parents move to her Great-Uncle's mansion. Now Emmy attends a new school, her parents are always off traveling and Emmy is supervised by Miss Barmy, a very unpleasant and strange nanny who is constantly tearing down her self- esteem and giving her mysterious medicines, one turned her face orange. Her classmates and teacher hardly notice her, "Emma? Emmaline Addison?" Mr. Herbifore gazed out over the heads of his students. Emmy stood up. "No, I don't see her," he said into the phone. "Emmy walked forward and stood by the teacher's desk. What did she have to do, she wondered, bewildered. Throw firecrackers under his chair? Hang from the ceiling and make like a monkey? She tugged at the teacher's sleeve and spoke loudly in his ear. "Here I am, Mr. Herbifore." The teacher stared at her doubtfully. Oh? Are you sure?" One day, the classroom rat tells her that she is too nice, "A little meanness is good for the soul. I highly recommend it." At the end of an entertaining repartee that includes Rat's response to Emmy's surprised comment, "Rodents play soccer?" "Of course they play soccer, he snapped. What do you think they do for fun? Run about, frightening elephants? Scavenge in churches for crumbs? Really, your ignorance is appalling." Rat pleads with Emmy to release him from his cage and when she does this engaging story explodes with adventure, suspense, and humor.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Urbanovic on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lynne has created an instant classic; it reminds me of my favorite stories like Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. Her story has memorable characters that you'll love and enjoy right from the start and a storyline that combines mystery, magic, real life problems and wonderful, droll humor. It's delightful to watch Emmy break out of her "too goodness" to solve the mystery and to save her family. Not to mention saving not just herself but all of her newly made friends. It's gripping, its a bit scary, its funny and comforting. It is a satisfying read from beginning to end that I think kids and adults both would enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Wenger on March 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use this book with both second and third graders and it is loved. The students fall in love or hate with the characters. I have used Jonell books as an anchor for reading and writing lessons. In reading the author wields her craft in vivid descriptions of the emotions of her characters; this is perfect for students on the autism spectrum to discuss exactly what these many emotions look like on a person's face. The book also builds vocabulary; we have many discussions as we enjoy the book. It is authentic learning at its finest! Crafts also include inference, foreshadowing, text-to-text connections (between her novels), compare and contrast; the list goes on and on. Students begin to dread seeing the bookmark move to the end of the book because they know this adventure is coming to a close. The students also love to watch the animation in the margin as you flick the pages of the book both forward and backward. Lynne Jonell is a jewel in our classroom every year!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
We've had a difficult time finding books to read as a family that will please both my 9 year old daughter, who loves books like Nancy Drew mysteries,"A Little Princess" and Boxcar children stories, as well as my 6 year old son who prefers non-fiction. But all of us have thoroughly enjoyed reading Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat. The characters are endearing, humorous, and real. The story is fresh, imaginative, suited for both boys and girls, suspenseful, adventurous, and sometimes laugh out loud funny. They both begged for more chapters each evening and my daughter snuck off with it one day and read for hours without a pause. Reading it with my kids was my second reading and I enjoyed it the second time just as much as the first, and am very pleased to find that there is a sequel, which the kids have already requested for another family book. I wish Pixar would pick it up and make a movie because we would LOVE to see Rat on the big screen - what a great character. A instant favorite here.
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