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Walter: The Story of a Rat Hardcover – November 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 61 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425413
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8–An unlikely friendship develops between Walter, literate rat, and Amanda Pomeroy, elderly writer of children's books. With frequent references to adult literature (Edna St. Vincent Millay, Stephen King, Tennessee Williams, and Sir Walter Scott, and that's just the first page), Wersba lovingly describes Walter's path through Ms. Pomeroy's library and his discovery that she has created a whole series of books about a secret-agent mouse. He also becomes aware of Stuart Little, Noisy Nora, and a host of other mouse characters (but no rats). Some older readers will recall their literary heritage while perhaps gaining advice for moving out from it. Diamond's black wash and line illustrations depict the elderly woman and the wide-eyed and well-mannered rat with charm. The writerly prose, erudite vocabulary, and the plot's nearly flat trajectory make this slow for casual readers, and some literalists may wonder how a mouse's tiny paws can put snack dishes in the sink or heft heavy books. But those with a love of words will enjoy the way Wersba shows Walter sneaking up on a friendship with the elusive but observant author. Like Richard Kennedy's Come Again in the Spring (HarperCollins, 1976) or Randall Jarrell's The Bat-Poet (S & S, 1967), this book gives readers some writing to remember and a chance to view the world from a different perspective.–Susan Hepler, formerly at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. It's hard to know the main audience for this small, old-fashioned, beautiful chapter book, which is told from the viewpoint of a solitary, literary rat (named after Sir Walter Scott) who lives in the house of an elderly, reclusive children's author, Miss Pomeroy. Kids certainly won't get all the references to classical literature, music, and movies, though they'll probably understand Walter's resentment about the absence of rat heroes (there are plenty of mice heroes, but only rat villains) in children's literature. How the two lonely literary creatures, "a writer and a reader," get together is moving and unpretentious. Walter writes Miss Pomeroy a note: "I live here too." She writes back, "I know." Lovely pencil drawings show Walter sitting in Miss Pomeroy's library, right on the pages of a book, reading passionately. Eventually they write more and become true friends. Quiet and unsentimental, this may appeal to readers slightly older than the target audience and to adults who remember the children's books they loved, including those by Wersba. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
I recommend this book to any parents, children, and adults.
M.Eshragh
There's a slight hint of melancholy to the book -- a pleasant melancholy -- as there is in "Charlotte's Web."
Anne K.
I loved this book!It is a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations.
Mark Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S. Ferguson on December 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those nearly perfect children's books: a fable really, in the manner of THE LITTLE PRINCE. It's a story of a rat and a writer, but it's really a story about the vulnerability and fragility of friendship and love. Tender, funny, literate--this is my universal Christmas gift this year.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anne K. on August 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although this near-perfect book has been marketed as a "children's" book, it would be loved and treasured by anyone who loves books and reading. I would compare it to "Charlotte's Web" and the Narnia books as a book that will appeal to children older than seven as a story, but it will mean something deep and touching to their parents. There's a slight hint of melancholy to the book -- a pleasant melancholy -- as there is in "Charlotte's Web." I will be giving it to everyone on my Christmas list this year. My copy is going on my shelf of very special books you read and re-read throughout your life, next to E.B. White, the Narnia books, and "The Little Book Room," by Eleanor Farjeon.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Pyle on May 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book for young readers. My son is eight. He was delighted with all aspect of Walter: The Story of a Rat. The reading level is a step up from early chapter books; ie. Magic Tree House, Magic School Bus. Vocabulary and plot are challenging and intriging. Well worth the read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia on August 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this story--it touched my heart and imagination beyond what I can express. It is a wonderful book--I hope there will be sequels--I would love to see these two friends have many adventures together, and I wish they lived next door.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Lee Bates on April 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not felt this compelled to write a review in quite a while! If one wants to combine philosophy, intelligence, beauty and ensure charm this is the book to read! Not only told from a fellow animal's point of view, Barbara Wersba brings to light the depths of the human character in the story as well as her own. The first word that came to mind is charm. An author may write with beautiful word 'furnishings' and impress with decorative knowledge 'accessories', but charm is a quality of the soul that is accessed through authenticity, and expressed with one's own personal flair. Not to leave out praise in the highest for the illustrations, breathtaking! That is what I found in this book. Not a word wasted! and that is something Walter would approve of.

Regards,
Jenny L. Bates
author, "Opening Doors: An equilog of poetry about Donkeys"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. kingman on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The drawings were warmly detailed and delicate. I felt the story so heartwarming. It explains how Walter and Miss Pomeroy, who were both living lonely existences for different reasons, took the 'risk' of putting themselves in each other's lives in hopes of making that wonderful connection we call friendship.

The exchange of notes was sweet - and the first note back from Miss Pomeroy "i know" actually gave me goosebumps.

Towards the end of the book there is a drawing of Walter and Miss Pomeroy together. It was so poignant is made me cry. I highly recommend this sweet story. I would think it would be especially helpful to a child who is introverted and afraid to make new friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MeB on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So simple, yet not. This lovely story presents a one of a kind opportunity to share many important topics with a child in an way that he/she can be easily relate. There are so many themes and underlying nuances. What a wonderful way to explore the fragile nature of human insecurities and prejudices - this book should be on every 5th grade teacher's reading list. I can't wait to share it with my niece Allison.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Black Raven on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written story about a very special friendship between two lonely souls that will touch your heart. Barbara Wersba proves little words can express deep emotions.

Wonderful illustrations!
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