Raffie, an intrepid subway rat, embarks on a fearsome quest to rescue his little brother in this lively animal adventure with memorable characters. Ages 8-12
Raffie on the Run by Jacqueline Resnick. Roaring Brook, 2018, 299 pages
Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12
Recommended for: ages 8-12 for independent reading, 5-10 for read-aloud
It’s not easy being a subway rat in Brooklyn, especially if you’re so small you often get taken for a mouse (the ultimate insult). But Raffie belongs to a loving family and his adoring little brother Oggie is always an eager ear for “unstoppable Raffie” tales. The food is good too—all kinds of stale, runny, rotting delicacies in the treasure (aka trash) bins outside their cozy home. But when Oggie sneaks out on an adventure of his own, Raffie is horrified to witness his little brother’s capture by school kids, who take him away in a cage! One of the kids left his backpack behind, and in it is a notebook with an address for Central Park Day School That must be where the kids took Oggie. And where Raffie must go to find him. But how does a rat get from Brooklyn to Central Park?
Not easily. In fact it involves some impossible-seeming barriers and a few truly terrifying moments. But while meeting one challenge after another, Raffie discovers he really is unstoppable, especially with the aid of indispensable allies like a pigeon named Raz. All the characters (four- and two-legged) are nicely delineated with plenty of personality, and Raffie learns some lessons about friendship and perseverance. Young readers, especially lovers of animal tales like The Cricket of Times Square, will enjoy spending time with him. As a bonus, illustrator Joe Sutphin is a Rabbit Room habitué where he hangs out with Andrew Peterson.
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 4
- Artistic value: 4