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Rat Rule 79: An Adventure
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Rat Rule 79: An Adventure

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  23 reviews
From the New Yorker “20 Under 40” author of Atmospheric Disturbances comes a brain-twisting adventure story of a girl named Fred on a quest through a world of fantastical creatures, strange logic, and a powerful prejudice against growing up.

Fred and her math-teacher mom are always on the move, and Fred is getting sick of it. She’s about to have yet another birthday in a
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Restless Books
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  67 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jasmine from How Useful It Is
I love the activities Fred and her mom play with paper and pen. This adventure book is interesting. I like Downer the elephant because he's not afraid to fail so he's not afraid to try new things. I like that this story promotes thinking outside the box because of word play between Fred and the Owl. Fred's favorite meal of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches on raisin bread is really out there.

This book is told in the third person point of view following Fred, 12 going on 13 as she sat down to
Peter Tillman
Nov 02, 2019 is currently reading it
Shelves: fantasy, art, own-copy
I pretty much don't need to write a review, since my new (I hope) BBFF@GR has already done it. With a good sampling of Elena Megalos's wonderful art, too!
And I really like the mathematical games the group gets into in Wonderland! I have to borrow my wife's copy when she isn't looking, so this may take awhile. . .
I do not trust adult novelists. Not, as a general rule, when they start dipping their toes into the world of children’s literature. I am interested, in their attempts, yes, and, truth be told, I am more inclined to pick up their books than with a hitherto unknown writer. Yet time and again I am disappointed by the results. I am not saying that an adult novelist is incapable of writing well for children. Neil Gaiman seemed to figure it out. Catherynne Valente is passable. But on the whole, ...more
Jacob Hoefer
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why not, 5 stars. It's weird, wild and whitty. A little Lemony Sniket a little Lewis Carroll, with a lot of heart. Fred is a very possible 12 year old set into the land of impossibility and tasked with finding the Rat Queen and her mom and the Rat Queen's Hart. (not in that order if Fred got her way) I was wholeheartedly won over by this book. The illustrations are very fun and yet elegant and subtle. I do have some minor complaints, like how we never really get to spend that much time with Fred ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The premise of Rat Rule 79 was incredibly cool and reminded me of the books I liked to read as a kid. It would be easy to create an alternate world full of characters who speak both bizarre statements and truth that felt like an Alice's Adventures in Wonderland rip-off. Somehow Rat Rule 79 feels entirely original in its quirky nonsense.

The concept of Fred going on this journey with several friends began to feel a bit tired towards the 75% mark. It at times felt like the author was more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
'The Phantom Tollbooth' meets 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.' A sweet and sour pickle of a fable.
An Alice in Wonderland for our time.
Elbrackeen Brackeen
Sep 11, 2019 marked it as to-read
pw 9/2/19
Miz Lizzie
Fred is angry at her mother for moving them to yet another new town, this time just before her birthday. Going to bed mad, Fred can't fall asleep. Sneaking out of her bedroom to get a snack she sees her mother going through an enormous paper lantern that wasn't there before and disappearing. Of course, Fred follows. Though she never does find her mother, she does find a strongly allegorical world populated by talking animals and ruled by a missing Rat who has imposed many rules included #79 that ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Cute adventure tale. It wants to be clever and eccentric—and sometimes succeeds—but it doesn’t quite hold up to the comparative hype. There’s just something effortful about its idiosyncrasies. All those other titles (The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice and Wonderland, the Lemony Snicket books, and I would add everything by Catherine Valente) seem a lot less affected in the way they inhabit the absurd.

Still, a fun read with or for kids.
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a not so subtle nod to the late L. Frank Baum, Galchen creates an impossible land, filled with some charming creatures that help a 12 year old girl find the right way to get back home. Danger and unreason are defeated by logic and love. Original and beautiful illustrations by Elena Megalos. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Caroline Mickey
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
It's okay. I don't usually care much for nonsense novels like Alice in Wonderland, but this is one works well. It's a little tedious, and there are a lot of math references. Not my jam, but good enough
Jul 05, 2019 marked it as tried-to-read
I love the illustrations. They’re kind of dry, and serious, and like antique urns. The story is like Phantom Tollbooth, Lemony Snicket, and Alice in Wonderland all smashed up and slightly drunk. I found myself both enjoying it and rolling my eyes a little.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Riffs heavily on The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice in Wonderland. Has some good points to make about how adults construct children, but overall a bit low energy for my tastes.

Reviewed for
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yabc-reviews
See my full review here:

RAT RULE 79 is charming, ridiculous, and completely engaging. Fred is about to turn thirteen in a new place, as she and her mother keep moving. She does not have any friends yet and feels completely awkward, to the point that she would rather just not have a birthday party. After she goes to bed, she decides to come back and speak with her mother some more, when she sees her mother dressed for a party, stepping through a large
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Swoon!! This book was so dreamy and lovely and clever and wise and made me cry and also laugh so much and made me feel lots of joy in my grown-up heart. I wish I had this book as a kid, but now I have it as a grown-up who teaches little kids, so that’s even better. 100% the best book I’ve read this year and in many years!
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, I found this book delightful and original. The math signposts and wordplay are reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth. The illustrations and formatting were captivating. My only complaint was the ending. As an adult reader, it felt a bit lazy, but I suspect my students won't mind and I will definitely recommend this book to them.
Synthetic Vox
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-library
The entire plot/ending was telegraphed from the beginning, so I had to give it three stars. I honestly found the ending so bad. Serious character points (the mother: her neglect, her unwillingness to tell her daughter her work/relocation plans, her unwillingness to be supportive) left completely unresolved.

The word play and quirky chapter titles were good.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored reading this children’s book. It’s a tale like many we’ve read—a young Alice-like figure lost in a fantastical world and learning what growing-up means; but it’s told with such wit and style and humor. It reminds me a lot of The Phantom Tollbooth mixed with a hint of Alice. Such a delight. Lots of wordplay and some silliness, mixed with some darkness. A wonderful read.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For fans of the weirdness and wordplay of Alice In Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, and the Phantom Tollbooth, with deliciously short chapters. I would have bought this based on the chapter titles alone.
Camila Fagen
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars*
Erin Kowal
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nicely silly, funny one-liners. A bit Alice in Wonderland-ish.
Iza October
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr-shelf
This is a delightful romp for anyone who enjoys books like The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
john p harris
rated it it was ok
Jun 06, 2019
rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2019
Jolijn Swager
rated it did not like it
Jun 12, 2019
rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2019
Hannah Gottlieb
rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2019
Anna Powell
rated it liked it
Jan 13, 2020
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Rivka Galchen (born 1976) is a Canadian-American writer and physician. Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, was published in 2008. She currently is an adjunct professor in the writing division of Columbia University's School of Art. In 2010, she was chosen as one of the 20 best writers under 40 by The New Yorker.