Carolyn Crimi is the author of the picture book Outside, Inside and the guidebook Kidding Around Chicago. Lynn Munsinger is a prolific children's book illustrator, best known for Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester and What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff.
Devastated when his best friend moves out of the junkyard, Rat decides to become a recluse. "Don't need friends, don't need'em at all," he grumbles, rejecting overtures of friendship and food from his neighbors. Rat meets his match in churlishness when Dog moves in. "Don't you come near me," snarls Dog. "Fine with me!" Rat responds. It takes calamities of health and weather to make the animals acknowledgeÄalbeit in brusque termsÄhow much they need and care for each other. Crimi (Outside, Inside) and Munsinger (Tacky the Penguin) are in perfect sync in this slyly funny and deeply touching story. Without overemphasizing their message, they show how gruffness can mask hurt, and how even unwitting selflessness can warm the coldest heartÄon both the giving and receiving ends. Crimi's tight, deft prose mines Dog and Rat's petulance for all its comedy and poignancy, while Munsinger offers up yet another memorable cast of all-too-human animals. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"* "[A] slyly funny and deeply touching story." - Publishers Weekly, Starred "Munsinger's expressive, detailed line-and-watercolor pictures capture the grouchy nonsense and also the real feelings." - Booklist
K-Gr 2-When Possum moves away and leaves his friend behind, Rat turns his back on the other inhabitants of the junkyard, muttering, "Don't need friends, don't need 'em at all." Children will appreciate the snappy dialogue that is flung back and forth between Rat and a curmudgeonly stray dog that moves in, and they'll realize (long before the two animals do) that the two were meant to be friends. Munsinger's pen-and-watercolor illustrations make the junkyard look messy without being utterly dreary and the dog and rat are imbued with plenty of personality and pizzazz. Pair this story with both traditional and nontraditional friendship titles, such as Kevin Henkes's Chester's Way (Greenwillow, 1988) or Marjorie Sharmat's I'm Terrific (Holiday, 1977), for an interesting mix.-Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.