From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—Emmy Addison was perfectly happy as the daughter of bookstore owners—and then her parents inherited a lot of money and she suddenly became invisible. She can't understand why her formerly attentive and loving mother and father keep taking off for faraway places and leaving her in the hands of an incredibly controlling nanny named Miss Barmy. And no one at school seems to know she exists. Then, she is bitten by the classroom rat and discovers that she can understand every word he says, as can Joe, one of the cool kids in her class who was also bitten. At this point, events start to unfold and a fast-paced adventure begins. To Joe's chagrin, he discovers that a second bite makes a person shrink to the size of an action figure and Emmy discovers that Miss Barmy has been mixing animal essences together to control the Addisons' lives. With the aid of new animal friends, Emmy embarks upon a perilous path to undo the evil nanny's sinister plans. A mystery is cleverly woven into this fun and, at times, hilarious caper, and children are likely to find themselves laughing out loud during some parts. A medley of endearing characters adds to an already delightful read.—Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
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*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
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