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Rats and cats. I’ve been thinking about these animals a lot recently (as you do), so I’ve picked a few about them.

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This one is all about rats and Rat Law. Which is very straightforward. You take a piece of cheese, it belongs to you. Unless there’s a bigger rat, in which case it’s theirs. Unless there’s a quicker rat, and then they can claim it. The story builds with strong or scary, hairy or dirty rats claiming the cheese as their own. But it’s OK – it’s very clear who ultimately gets the cheese, and that is the boss of them all. Unless another rat wants to be boss instead of course…..

Cue an almighty scrap which leaves the cheese intact, with the first rat sitting unscathed on top and surrounded by exhausted rats. The chaos throughout these pages is great, but there’s a surprising development at this point when the rat asks if anyone else wants to share the cheese. The rats say yes and – my favourite bit – the book ends with them seated at a table eating in a terribly civilised manner:

‘Excuse me, but could you pass the pepper?’

We really enjoyed this. As the pace builds, you find yourself reading the pages faster and faster until the fight. The composed dinner is a calming moment at the end. We’ve liked Alexis Deacon since Beegu. This is very different – and I like authors who choose to do this, rather than churning out a similar (but less good) story each time. It’s a risk but as Alexis shows, you can pull it off and retain your readership.

A great read, and nice to know that we’re all clued up on Rat Law too.

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