written by Darrin Lunde; illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Rats are hated, hunted, trapped, and feared. They struggle each day just to survive.
If you are a rat, you get stereotyped fairly quickly. Filthy. Plague bringer. Disease spreader. They're trapped, screamed at and generally despised. Good for nothing. Well, not exactly. I guess you could say you can't judge a rat by its name. Marmoset rats have nothing to do with eating garbage. Their choice on nature's menu is bamboo. I see a joke beginning here: A panda and a marmoset rat meet at a bamboo plant. Then there's the South American fish-eating rat. No, it doesn't eat fish. It mostly eats insects. There are many rats around the world that can't be typecast. Another point of this book is that rats probably don't get their due when it comes to helping society. Where would medicine be without lab rats? They have been helpful in use by researchers trying to find solutions to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Rats also are great seed spreaders and a food source for many predators.
Dirty Rats? would be a good mentor text for teaching opinion and point of view with nonfiction. Students could take opposite sides of the rat debate. I like the idea of looking at what seems to be truth and turning it on its head. That's a profitable exercise for students. I'm not wanting to "rat it out", but Dirty Rats? is a pretty good book.