CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 1 . . . . September 6, 2002
the rat is an aspiring ballerina. In her search for a large enough space
to practice, she discovers Miss Genevieve's Dance School. Priscilla
decides to practice at night after the children have finished their
classes. Alas, she is frightened off by a watch-cat. Her rat friends
are reluctant to divert the cat while she practices, but, to her delight,
she discovers that the cat also loves to dance. They become a duo that
performs for their friends.
story is cute and full of possibilities. Jennings misses some ways that
would make the story funnier and does not fully develop some aspects
of the story that would emphasize conquering fears and stereotypes.
For example, Priscilla works, but no mention is made of the type of
work she does. If it's not important, it does not need to be mentioned.
After Priscilla first meets the cat, she goes home and "shoved
her bricks into place." No mention has been made of bricks or of
the location of her rat hole. This phrase needs to be explained, demonstrated
in the illustrations or excluded. When Priscilla and Percival the cat
perform for their respective friends, there is a rope between the cats
and the rats. Considering the fear that Priscilla's friends have expressed
about cats, Jennings should have included their surprise about her choice
of a dancing partner or some explanation about how Priscilla allayed
their concerns about attending a concert with their natural enemies.
How did Percival get his friends to behave? To keep the story from becoming
overly long, the beginning could have been shortened. The story could
have easily begun as Priscilla and her friends are discussing apartment
hunting in the coffee shop, or when Priscilla and Rosy are at Sugarman's
The illustrations by Linda Hendry are fun and interesting to examine. Priscilla's rat-hole is suitably crowded, the rats wear funky, fun clothes, and the rat's world is a mirror of the human world, just below human feet.
Recommended with reservations.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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