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I Was a Rat!
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I Was a Rat!

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  2,209 ratings  ·  227 reviews
“I Was a Rat!” So insists a scruffy boy named Roger. Maybe it’s true. But what is he now? A terrifying monster running wild in the sewers? The Daily Scourge is sure of it. A victim of “Rodent Delusion”? The hospital nurse says yes. A lucrative fairground freak? He is to Mr. Tapscrew. A champion wriggler and a budding thief? That’s what Billy thinks. Or just an ordinary sma ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 12th 2002 by Yearling (first published 1999)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,209 ratings  ·  227 reviews


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Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great read, and a great read-aloud. Pullman is such a skilled storyteller — just the right combination of dark and light, heart-aches and comfort, advanture and mystery, and of course, a final, satisfying solution. The language just flows and it made me wonder how some people GET the cadence of language and put it down on paper so effortlessly (seemingly, of course) to create their own unique brand of tones, and yet others simply cannot make words and sentences do their bidding.
Phillip
Nov 22, 2007 rated it liked it
A very funny look at a sidebar to the Cinderella story, blending in elements of Pinocchio. Pullman has written a primer for how pomposity, ego, greed and self interest can callously crush innocence, as well as how a the right combinations of good hearts can triumph.
Meera
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it !!
Rike Jokanan
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone liking fantasy
Shelves: reviewed
This book reminds me to a writing workshop I attended several years ago. In one session, the participants were guided to write stories by twisting existing fairy tales. Local myths and legends were recommended. many of the participants chose Cinderella as their source tale. As a result, popped up various versions of the beautiful orphan with twisted characters, twisted start, twisted family, twisted plot, twisted setting, twisted end even twisted names. Most of them put tragic comedy rather than ...more
Abigail  F
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, 4.5 stars. Like with Clockwork, I Was a Rat! feels very simple, but it packs a punch. Especially in today's political climate, Pullman's commentary on the press/media felt very relevant. It always astounds me how deeply Pullman can probe at socio-cultural norms in such short stories. I think I'm still processing this one, but highly recommended read.
Amy Layton
What a delightful little book!  Filled with good humor and just the right amount of intrigue, I Was a Rat! details the aftermath of the "happily ever after".  When Roger isn't turned back into a rat after a Cinderella-esque plot, he's a little beside himself with what to do.  How can he be human when he's only three weeks old?  And people keep expecting him to act a certain way that's completely different to what he's known for his entire life.  

His new foster parents don't know what to do eithe
...more
Spencer Fancutt
Good kiddie-lit. Pullman seems very comfortable at this level, and doesn't talk down to his younger readers. Intelligent plot and a character to root for. Something I'll enjoy reading aloud as a bedtime tale.
RhiannaH
An interesting tale that develops into an alternative extension of a well-known fairytale.
A L E X I S C H O I
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was really fun book
Linda McCarry
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This is my 2nd Book Review: I Was a Rat
By: Philip Pullman

This is an intelligently written story by Philip Pullman, about a young boy who was once a 'Rat' and part of the fairy-tale of Cinderella's big night out at the ball. He was magically changed into a boy the night of the ball and was suppose to escort Cinderella to the ball and wait by the pumpkin/carriage and pull down the step for Cinderella before midnight struck. However the boy got up to mischief with The Palace page boys, playing foot
...more
Jaclyn Giordano
I Was a Rat! by Philip Pullman is a chapter book intended for readers in fourth grade through seventh grade. I gave it three stars. In this story, the little boy Roger comes to the home of Bob and Joan one night, claiming that he was a rat. A suspenseful tale ensues, as Roger acts like a rat, chewing pencils and shredding clothing. He is tested, poked, prodded, and put into fairs, finally captured as the “Monster of the Sewers.” The love of Bob and Joan, and an unexpected twist with Princess Au ...more
Matt Davies
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I Was a Rat!" tell's a version of the Cinderella story from the point of view of a rat. He was turned into a little boy by magic, and escorted Cinderella to the ball, where she fell in love with the charming prince, but he was so busy playing with the other page boys that he got left behind and wasn't turned back. The book uses a mixture of text, illustration and newspaper pages to tell of his various misadventures on the way to becoming part of a loving family. There is a lot going on in this ...more
Katie
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels-children
On SBT1 my Year 5s were studying this book for their Literacy lessons. It was fantastic as it was so versatile!
They could all relate to the young boy named Roger, as he was the same age as they were. They knew how he felt when he couldn't behave at school, and understood why he just wanted to play! They found it funny and were thoroughly engaged with the story. They all needed to know what was going to happen next!
We used this book for:
Diary entries
Newspaper articles
Non-chronological reports

We a
...more
Akela
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: My friends with kids and kids.
Recommended to Akela by: no one
I had just read the "His Dark Material" trilogy which included the Golden Compass. I saw that Pullman had written some childrens books as well. I checked this book out to read to my daughter. She old enogh to read on her own, but she likes when I do the voices. So I read this and even my son listened. This young boy has no clue how he is supposed to behave. He is found by an old childless couple, he looks all beat up and dirty and the only thing he can tell them is he's a rat. Well the couple de ...more
Agnė
3.5 out of 5
An interesting take on the Cinderella story.
Frances
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

Cross-posted from Nightjar's Jar of Books.

All Bob and Joan really want is a child, but after years of trying, they've all but given up hope. That is, until a small boy in a tattered page-boy's uniform knocks on their door one night with no clear memory of anything except this: That he used to be a rat.

I remember really loving this book when I was little, but it had been so long since I read it that I'd completely forgotten what it was called or who it was by... Needless to say, I was thrilled wh

...more
Harry Brake
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know what you are thinking. Seriously? This looks like an elementary text? I was thinking the SAME THING - while I was shifting my high school library collection and weeding, I came across this one and was kind of confused. I swept through the pages, but nothing glaringly shouted out to me, but I was....suspicious. So I took it home.

I read "I Was a Rat!" and found a treasure trove of possibility. In one, not excessive length text, I found the way to introduce how a publication has a specific V
...more
Charlotte
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Eagle
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
I didn't see any reason to sympathize with the main character. I thought the book took too long to get to the end, and I really disliked the ending.
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It was a Cinderella story the whole time, except for the part where there is NO indication at all in the entire book that magic exists, the princess' name isn't Ella (Or Cinderella), and none of the other characters like the Fairy Godmother, the Prince, the Godmother or Evil Stepsisters were present. Instead we got an almost Olive
...more
Dane Cobain
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was always going to struggle to a certain extent because Pullman is one of my favourite authors and here he’s writing a fairy tale, which isn’t necessarily my favourite genre. That said, he did a decent enough job, and I think he got the balance right between having a moral and avoiding forcing it down the reader’s throat.

The result is a story that can be read in multiple ways, and I guess that’d make it a good one to pick up if you need a bedtime book for kids that can also make adult
...more
Corey
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
"I Was A Rat" not really silly it's the title of the book in reading. It was published by Philip Pullman. The setting of the book takes place in the suburbs of a village. The characters are Bob, Joan, and a little boy named Roger. My English teacher made me read this book.
Roger is a small boy who was named by Bob who is a cobbler. The reason he named him Roger was because he said if he ever had a son he wanted to name him Roger. Joan is Bobs wife she is charming, but demanding. She expects a lo
...more
Jessica Adams
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
During my SBT 2 placement, this book was used with one of the writing groups, these children's ability was middle ability who could be moved up to higher ability with support. This book is ideal for year 4, 5 and 6 year old children as it is a spin off of the story of Cinderella, the story is told from the point of view of one of the rats that has been turned into a little boy. There is so much work that can be done relating to this book, dairy entries, letters, newspaper articles and wanted pos ...more
Seawood
A super twisted fairytale - what on earth happens to the minor characters in a fairy tale when the main character gets their happily ever after? In Roger the rat's case, a whole lot of adventure! He's delusional (according to the hospital), a crowd-puller (according to the freak show owner) and a wriggler (according to a band of thieves) - but all he really wants is a home and someone to look after him. Pullman writes on many levels; some readers will only see the adventure whilst others will ap ...more
Karina
A deceptively simple tale with many layers to it - when a boy turns up at a cobbler's one night, filthy and starving, saying 'I was a rat!' - what should Bob and Joan do? And when society (whipped up by the media and vested interests) turns against him, declares him a monster and threatens his very existence, what then?
Chrissy Erwin
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Verschoyle
storyline way out there. twist on a fairytale, invades our world.
political dimension which will appeal to an older reader. not sure where pullman got this but it really works - almost as magical realism. salt-of -the-earth adopting couple standing up for their elected, adoptive young charge.
Lauren
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Very entertaining easy read about a boy who consistently says ‘I was a rat’ and this gets him into all sorts of trouble. It makes the audience wonder if he was a rat and how he came to be a boy. And they don’t find out till right at the end...I liked the ending - very clever!
Suzanne
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
IWASARAT

this was a delightful story about folks living in the outskirts of fairy tales. Also pretty sure there’s a lot of subtext that I missed on purpose because I was so drawn in by the story. I’ll read this again ASAP. Phillip Pullman is rad.
Kirstin
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely wee fairy tale by one of my favourite authors.
Jeanine
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this several years ago with our mother/son book club. I remember it being a fun, quick, entertaining read.
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In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards ...more
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“I don't like rats any more than the next bloke, but they ain't wicked and cruel like people can be. They're just ratty in their habits.” 2 likes
“But he might have had a bang on the head!" said Joan. "Poor little boy, he thinks he was a rat!"

"Hmm," said the receptionist, and wrote rodent delusion on a pink slip of paper.”
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