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Any time that I have the opportunity to read a good book on rats and rat care, I jump in and grab it. This book was no exception. It came to me by way of Facebook, where a fellow rat owner had posted a link on her page about it, saying that if we wanted to have a copy, we should contact the author. I did this quite happily, explaining that I write for Your Pet Space and am always looking for books to review, especially when they are about rats. Within no time at all, a copy had arrived in my mail box and I didn’t even get to my front door before I had the package opened and was flipping through the pages.
Oh my gosh. If you could package cuteness, this is the way to go! Just look at that face on the cover; curious and inquisitive, coming at the camera with all the busy action of a young rat. The essence of little Nimh is clearly captured right from the beginning.
Learn Short Little Facts About Rat Care
Nimh is learning to be a program rat in a state park in Florida and the book follows the life of Nimh for a short time, introducing children (and adults) to the joys of having a rat. The book is written in the first person, from Nimh’s point of view, each page also containing short little facts about rat care. The balance between the two provides excellent places to stop on each page and discuss what you are reading. It also gives you an excuse to check out the adorable photos on each page one more time. I found myself often looking at the picture, reading, then looking at the photo again.
If You’re Hoping To Get A Pet Rat
As a teacher (and a rat owner) I found many learning opportunities throughout this book, where anyone of any age who is hoping to get a pet rat can learn about care and handling before they go out and bring a new baby home. As Nimh grows from being 4 weeks old to being 4 months old, the book touches lightly on handling, cages, toys, food, treats, training, and most of all, behavior. I wouldn’t say that this little story is meant to tell you everything, but it is certainly the perfect introduction to having a rat as a part of your household. Anyone who is considering having a rat as a pet should have some of their basic questions answered as they read.
Learning and discussion opportunities flood the pages. When I read the book to my students I find them asking about the photos or about what has just been read. This isn’t because they don’t understand the subject, but because they are curious about what they are seeing and hearing. On one of the pages, Nimh has learned to climb out of the “playpen” and that usually is the perfect time to pause for some creative thinking. What could Nimh do now? Where would Nimh go? What would Nimh do? We also had a discussion about how the person watching Nimh would be careful to keep Nimh safe outside of the “playpen” since earlier in the book we learned that rats don’t like to get dirty and need to eat (and come in contact with) only healthy things.
Younger Readers Will Find The Storytelling To Their Taste But…
Obviously younger readers will find the storytelling to their taste the most, but adults will have no difficulty at all when it comes to enjoying Nimh’s story. If you love rats, you will read for the love of the animal. If you are curious about rats, you will find yourself enjoying the story much more than you might have realized, and maybe by the end of it, you might just find yourself thinking rats aren’t so bad after all. Most importantly, this is a book that a child and an adult can read together, learn from together and discuss together. Are you ready to have a rat of your own? This book might just convince you that they are perfect pets for your home. I highly recommend it as a starting block in the building of a rat care library.
Story and Photos by Barbara Cairns
Genre & Topics: Non-Fiction, Animal Care, Rats
Published in 2014 by America Star Books – Frederick, Maryland
45 pages, Illustrated with photographs
This book was a gift from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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The Not So Secret Life of Nimh, A Dumbo Rat
Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org