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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Slumpton Rats (Author: J.S. Guthrie)

The Slumpton Rats (Book Cover)

Charming, Magical Imaginative

Genre: Children's Fiction

The Slumpton Rats by John Guthrie, Author

Slither, the self proclaimed 'King Of The Rats' is currently running Rat City along with his human sidekick Dross. He has one aim in his sights, & that is to rid the docks of the Ditchpoles. So, when they flee whilst everyone is sleeping, Slither vows to find them & bring them back so that he may serve his own revenge on the family. However, what he hasn't bargained on are the friends & allies that the Ditchpoles make on their travels.

So, I received this book as a gift, a bonus book from the author along with a copy of another novel that I had previously read, loved & reviewed. Initially, I was dubious, as a book about Rats wouldn't normally be my go to read. I also thought the cover to be uninspiring. However, as I am learning on my book reviewing journey & as the old saying goes 'never judge a book by its cover', is more often than not correct. Also, having spoken with the Author, I know that he is working on changing it to more reflect the characters of the creatures that come across so charmingly. I am really looking forward to seeing what transpires!

I wasn't aware of the books Genre prior to reading it & having read novels from this author recently, I was surprised to find that it was in fact a beautifully written children's book, although I was aware that he had written these types of books before. It is my opinion that it would be completely adored (I would hope!) by children between the ages of 7 - 12 years of age. It made me feel like a small child again. I wanted someone to read it to me, doing the voices of the different characters whilst I curled up with a hot drink, although, it was very easy to imagine the voices myself.

It made me feel excited & anxious all at the same time that our current young generation & those to come should be reading real children's books like this one, & not words on a Kindle or stories about fabricated super heroes, most of which make it onto the retail market to be reproduced on bags or clothing or as plastic figures. The same applies to those derived from films or TV shows, meaning when a child reads a book, no imagination is required because the characters have been imagined for them.

The narrative of The Slumpton Rats certainly captured my imagination & would do the same for any child. It takes me back to a more innocent time when being given a book was a magical gift to get lost in, not just an object to add to a kids pile of memorabilia. The idea that a community of creatures could have their own little market at night & be welcomed into a home as a domestic pet from the street portrays a kind & positive message. Even at the conclusion of the feud between the rodents & Dross, the antagonists are not left to meet a gruesome watery demise but are rescued by those they have wronged.

Many of us have been brought up to revere rats & whilst that remains sensible logic with rats that aren't kept as domestic pets, this book turns that logic on its head & allows a child to believe that they too exist in their own little world going about their daily routines just as us humans do.

There are quite a number of chapters, but each chapter is no longer than four pages, making it ideal for Bedtime reading or for an older child to read independently. I myself have the attention of a small child most of the time so found the short chapters very helpful indeed. The ending to this beautifully written tale was perfectly executed & left me feeling that I had just read something very special.

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