Oh, Rats!
Illustrated by Gabriel Evans | Published by Atheneum

Phoenix is a pretty big deal in his neck of the woods: The biggest in his litter with the most lustrous fur and by far the bushiest tail, he’s one of the most sought-after squirrels in New Jersey—which makes his kidnapping by hawk even more dramatic.

Luckily, the hawk doesn’t have the best grip. Unluckily, he drops Phoenix on a freshly-tarred street in downtown Manhattan. Now stripped of his gorgeous golden-brown coat, Phoenix looks like nothing more than a common sewer rat. Fortunately for Phoenix, it’s not a pack of sewer rats that find him (they’re a notoriously surly bunch), but rather wharf rats.

Taken in by siblings Lucy and Beckett, Phoenix is welcomed into a rat pack living in abandoned piers on the Hudson. But when they learn of plans to demolish the piers, Phoenix is swept up in a truly electrifying scheme to stop the humans from destroying his new friends’ home.

  • Seidler sets just the right pace, with a skillfully drawn handful of characters and an adept rendering of Phoenix’s transformation from squirrel to rat. The novel’s ambiance, allegory, and illustrations are more reminiscent of mid-20th-century classics than recent anthropomorphic animal fare despite the very current theme.

    A charming tale of identity, migration, gentrification, and organized resistance.
    - Kirkus Review
  • In an irresistible cross between Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971) and Kate DiCamilo’s The Tale of Despereaux (2003), comes an adventurous story of a squirrel and a pack of wharf rats, whose home is slated for demolition.

    Sweet pencil illustrations and impressive vocabulary (calamitous! insidious!) are sprinkled throughout, as Seidler raises the story’s stakes to electrifying levels while Phoenix and the rats endeavor to save the pier. Important personal growth accompanies Phoenix’s derring-do, making for a moving animal-fantasy kids will want to squirrel away for repeated reading.
    - Booklist (starred review)
  • Seidler develops engaging characters for whom readers will root. VERDICT This is a charming tale of finding oneself and choosing one’s own destiny.
    - The Horn Book