CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 15. . . .December 13, 2013
Do You Know Rats? cleverly presents numerous scientific facts about rats in a comical graphic-novel format. Throughout the book, the reader learns about the classification, population, reproduction, eating, and behavioural habits of rats.
Do You Know Rats? was originally published in French under the title of Savais-Tu? Les Rats and is part of the “Do You Know?” series. Some of the other creatures included in the series are porcupines, crows, crocodiles, leeches, chameleons, toads, and spiders.
Written by Alain M. Bergeron, Michel Quintin, and Samuel Parent (Sampar) and translated into English by Solange Messier, Do You Know Rats? includes vocabulary that some readers may not be familiar with, words such as carrion, in heat, and plague. Definitions of these and other bolded words found throughout the book are included in a glossary. Also included in the book is an index which directs the reader to specific pages based on topic.
Sampar’s humorous, colourful cartoon illustrations and speech bubbles bring the scientific rat facts to life by creatively depicting them through the perspective of rats. For instance, the reader learns that “in addition to being good diggers, rats are also great climbers and excellent swimmers.” The corresponding illustration shows a rat spinning in a toilet bowl, excitedly saying “it spiiiiiiins!” while another rat declares that it’s his turn next.
In addition to being a visually appealing and entertaining read, this book can be used as an informative starting point for early years students interested in researching rats. Mathematics can also be tied into this book by having students attempt calculations related to the numerical reproduction facts of rats.
Beware—some of the facts, such as the one presented in the above-noted excerpt, may leave readers cringing in their seats.
Kelsey Sukich is an early years teacher candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. While she finds the rats depicted in Do You Know Rats? amusing, she does not feel the same way towards real-life rats.
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