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Misunderstood: Why the Humble Rat May Be Your Best Pet Ever Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—Have you ever considered owning a pet rat? Would you believe that rats make great, low-maintenance pets? Toor aims to reverse negative attitudes toward rats by informing readers of their pleasant nature and many amazing abilities and providing some personal anecdotes about her own rat, Iris. Hesitant readers will immediately be drawn in by the first line of the introduction: "For three and a half years I was in love with someone the size of a hot dog bun." Toor mixes humor with genuine affection as she details how she came to appreciate rats while also debunking some common myths students may be familiar with. For instance, she clarifies that rats alone did not cause the Black Plague; rather, it was the fleas that lived on them (which carried the disease in the form of a bacterial microbe) that were largely responsible. In addition, she briefly covers the concepts of evolution, genetics, and domestication to show how environment and circumstance can influence how a creature develops and acts. The true highlight of this work is the relationship between Toor and Iris during a challenging period in Toor's life (her mother was diagnosed with cancer). Students will feel close to the loving and sweet-tempered Iris. However, tenderhearted readers should be warned that Toor's mother and Iris both die. The author includes material on ratteries (rat breeders), different rat varieties (based on color and coat), and questions to consider before opting for a pet rat. VERDICT A delightful addition to any library or classroom's creative nonfiction section.—Elizabeth Anne Ragain, Springfield Public Schools, MO
“Artfully weaves extensive research and personal enthusiasm into a humorous treatise on the merits of rats, ‘perhaps the world’s most unfairly reviled species,’ as pets. In a book that serves, in part, as a memoir of Toor’s late pet, Iris, she tackles head-on the visceral objections of many and extols the charms of the domesticated rat . . . The book is well targeted to animal-loving teens, and Toor’s conversational tone, wealth of information, and ebullience could sway many skeptics.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Toor mixes humor with genuine affection as she details how she came to appreciate rats while also debunking some common myths students may be familiar with . . . A delightful addition to any library or classroom’s creative nonfiction section.” ―School Library Journal
“This irresistible memoir-manual . . . interweaves scientific studies, autobiographical anecdotes, and surprisingly riveting research . . . Effortlessly engaging . . . this is not only a useful resource for future rat owners and ardent animal-lovers, but also young essay writers. Get ready to scour ratteries near you!” ―Booklist
“Part pet-centric memoir and part broader commentary on animal-human relationships, Toor’s thoughtful and often humorous musings about pet rats, including and especially her own beloved rat, Iris, make an absorbing read.” ―The Bulletin
Top customer reviews
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My hope is that after reading this book, people who have never experienced rats and are afraid of them, or think they're icky, will have slightly altered opinions and maybe even visit with one at a rat rescue or animal shelter that may have some. I will warn you, though, rats are addictive. They are an absolute joy and make wonderful pets. Even if Misunderstood doesn't sway your opinion, it's a great read and you will both laugh and cry.
Last note; I don't agree with the age range suggested by Amazon (12-18)--I'm 49 years old!
TL/DR; Great book, but don’t believe all the facts you read.
Most recent customer reviews
Misunderstood by Rachel Toor
I have never had a pet rat but this book made me understand more why people would choose to do so.Read more