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I Was a Rat!: Complete & Unabridged: Or, the Scarlet Slippers Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Oct 2000


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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Chivers Children's Audio Books; Unabridged edition (Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754051935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754051930
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 11.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,587,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Product Description

Amazon Review

With the feel of a Grimm's Fairy Story, but with a thoroughly modern twist, Philip Pullman's I Was a Rat is an intriguing, sparkling story by an author who never ceases to amaze. When Old Bob the Cobbler and his Washerwoman Wife, Joan, find a strange little boy on their doorstep, the search for his true parentage begins. But the child, who insists that he was once a rat, a condition diagnosed as "rodent delusion" by the doctor, finds coming to terms with being a normal little boy rather confusing. Taken to the Palace by the Philosopher Royal - who decides that he is indeed a "curious and interesting case", his fame spreads and he finds himself back on the streets, facing ridicule on the pages of the Daily Scourge where he is maligned as a monster, and finds his life threatened because of his reputation.

Set against the backdrop of a Royal Wedding--which in itself gives Pullman the opportunity to take a wry and effective sideways glance at the way the press can manipulate public feeling, and with the addition of a smart twist to the tale which allows the newly-wed Princess Aurelia to show her true colours--I Was a Rat is pure pleasure from beginning to end and gives Pullman yet another opportunity to prove that his startling ability to effortlessly transport readers to another dimension is a force to be reckoned with. An absolute must read for every child, but particularly for ages 7 to 11. --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This is a highly artful, child-friendly pastiche which takes a famous fairy tale as its starting point, pokes fun at adult pretensions and gullibility on the way, and rattles along to a deeply satisfying conclusion" (Daily Telegraph)

"Combining elements of fairy tale, satire, slapstick humour and suspenseful melodrama . . . A glorious tale" (Guardian)

"All life is here in this skilful unfolding of a very human tale from a great storyteller" (The Bookseller)

"A comic genius of children's fiction" (The Times)

"A skilful fusion of fairytale and contemporary culture, combining elements of satire, slapstick humour and suspenseful melodrama to create a wonderfully imaginative story that can be read on many levels" (Writeaway!) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 19 May 2004
Format: Paperback
Pullman at his best - simple, but with layer upon layer of depth. I have to say, with some embarassment, that I did not spot the "nature of the beast" until almost the very last page. I cannot bring myself to say what it was, either, because I enjoyed the surprise so much that I want others to read it and have that experience. All this is far from saying that the rest of the book was anything but a joy to read, with unexpected action leaping from each page.
As always, Pullman turns the world as you know it on its head - to a world that's, in many ways, more real than our own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ge0rge on 18 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a rat

My dad bought me this book for me, recommended by my English tutor who encourages me to read books for better descriptive writing and vocab. When the book first arrived, I looked at the front cover and it looked like a boring book, but as they say "never judge a book by its cover".

"I was a rat" is a story of a boy who claims he used to be a rat. We also meet an eccentric Mr Tapscrew, along with the beautiful princess who has some secrets that are untold but could be revealed later in the book.

The pictures are quite amusing and detailed as well as the headlines about the rat boy and the bias ballots on the headline. He is always up to extreme mischief and hangs around bad influences. With him in the story it makes the whole book an adventure.

Overall, I think this is a great story to read by Philip Pullman and it's a good book to bury your head in it and forget about current thoughts.

Reviewed By George Chandler
age 12
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is great, I had expected it to be a bit young for me from the cover. But as they say "don't judge a book by its cover" so i didn't. I picked a copy up from the library along with the book tape and sat down to read along with the tape.
The book is all about a little boy in a page boys uniform who knocks on Bob and Joans door. They take him in and all he can tell them about where he comes from is "I was a rat." They take him everywhere: to the police, to the hospital and then to school.
The funniest part is when he is in school and the teacher says "get out your pencils and we shall do some arithmetic" the little boy (who Bob and Joan name Roger!) has already learnt the word pencil, and as he was a rat before he likes to eat them. So he says to himself "I've just learnt a new word! Arithmetic means a snack"
I really recommend you read this amusing book and I hope it brings a smile to your face (whether young or old) like it did to mine.
Thankyou Phillip Pullman for writing this book
Keep writing more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. C. W. Collins on 27 May 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the second time that I've read this masterpiece now. I was originally introduced to it by a TV serialisation of the book that I watched some years ago.
It is a story about a rat who is turned into a page-boy, for the purpose of a Royal Ball, but who doesn't get turned back into a rat. After the Royal Ball is over our page-boy ends up wandering the streets and is taken in by a kindly old married couple. Who with great love and patience try to teach him how to behave like a good little boy and not like a rodent.
However, our page-boy gets himself into all kinds of scrapes and this makes for a great story. He finds himself at the mercy of the unscupulous Mr Tapscrew, so-called experts and the populist newspaper The Daily Scourge.
This novel is obviously set in times gone by but somehow manages to mirror our modern society. It also deals with human nature, both good and bad, in an excellent manner.
I recommend this book not only to children but to adults too. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm 45!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By purplepadma VINE VOICE on 22 April 2003
Format: Paperback
A highly amusing tale for younger readers which allows Philip Pullman to indulge his love of the seamy side of Victorian life ('You want 'em nauseated,' as the side-show owner's wife explains). Roger the rat boy lurches from bad to worse as he is taken advantage of by a Philosopher Royal, an unscrupulous freak-show manager and a youthful gang leader who leads Roger into crime under threat of the Sterminator. Will kindly Bob and Joan be able to rescue Roger from a terrible fate and give him a life of love and bread and milk?
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not joking - if you've ever read any of Pullman's longer works (The Subtle Knife or The Ruby In The Smoke, anyone?) then you may well be securely thinking you've already experienced Pullman at his best. And yet these smaller books are of equal worth to his other works, and in some cases there are distinct advantages. 'I Was A Rat' goes beautifully alongside 'Clockwork' or 'The Firework Makers Daughter'; all of them wonderfully crafted tales with traditional and modern elements perfectly blended, with tremendous wit and playful use of vocabulary, all of it designed to draw the reader into the book's imaginary world, which it does so well. You know, I can't believe you're still reading this - for goodness sake buy it!
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A book about belonging, difference and unconditional love (and attachment). Our hero has realistic difficulties in understanding the differences between rat and human behaviour (the rat is of course always part of him and near the surface), and a lot of the human behaviour he encounters is much below the standards expected by rats. Our Hero takes a positive decision to engage with humanity and the love offered. - with help. I would put this at the 10 age group, and be aware if your child has issues around attachment and difference.
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