Rat Rule 79 : An Adventure
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 new place without friends. On the eve of turning thirteen, Fred sees something strange in the living room: her mother, dressed for a party, standing in front of an enormous paper lantern--which she steps into and disappears.
Fred follows her and finds herself in the Land of Impossibility--a loopily illogical place where time has been outlawed by a mad Rat Queen, along with birthday parties and, most cruelly, peanut butter. Fred meets Downer, a downcast white elephant, and Gogo, a pugnacious mongoose mother of seventeen, who help her in her quest to find her mom. Together they must brave dungeons, Insult Fish, a Know-It-Owl, Fearsome Ferlings, and ultimately the Rat Queen herself--and solve an ageless riddle to escape certain doom.
Gorgeously illustrated and reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Rivka Galchen's Rat Rule 79 is an instant classic for curious readers of all ages.
- Hardback | 256 pages
- 142.24 x 213.36 x 25.4mm | 521.63g
- 24 Sep 2019
- RESTLESS BOOKS
- Brooklyn, NY, United States
- Illustrations, unspecified
Other books in this series
"Rat Rule 79 is the adventure I didn't know I wanted until it started, just like it's the book you don't yet know you're going to love. We have been waiting for this book our entire lives."
"On the night before her 13th birthday, Fred can't sleep. She gets out of bed and sees her mother walk through a lantern. Fred follows her into a magical land filled with highly rational, unreasonable rules (or is it highly reasonable, irrational rules?). In the ensuing puzzles and conundrums, Rivka Galchen delivers joy and cleverness reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice in Wonderland and Hayao Miyazaki movies as she playfully exposes the holes in logic as presented through language. From the quirky chapter headings to the deadpan illustrations by Elena Megalos, it is a wonderful read (and re-read) for kids and adults."
--Philipp Goedicke, NPR Best Books of 2019
"Rat Rule 79 is an impossibly perfect book: a Mobius strip where the love loops continuously between mothers' daughters and daughters' mothers, law and disorder, the lost and the found. Fred is a heroine for the ages--a twelve-year old savant of mathematical and emotional truths and a connoisseur of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, Fred is smart enough to navigate irrational lands, demands, and numbers, and brave enough to love the strangest strangers. Rat Rule 79 belongs on a shelf of classics with The Phantom Tollbooth, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and The Last Unicorn. How can it be that Galchen's epic, so utterly, enchantingly new, also gave me the happiest deja vu while reading? How can the Dark, Dark Woods be such an illuminating place? These and other paradoxes fill Galchen's astonishing, hilarious, mind-and-heart-expanding book. As I read, I thought, 'I can't wait to share this with my daughter, son, mother, brother, sister, best friend...' a number set that eventually swelled to include: everyone."
--Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia
"Along with new friends Downer the elephant and Gogo the mongoose, Fred embarks on an epic series of adventures to find her mother and locate the infamous Rat Queen. Peppered throughout the sweetly playful text are tidbits of wisdom that highlight the perceived injustices of youth and the qualities of growing older. Galchen's charming middle-grade debut is filled with life lessons wrapped in occasionally over-the-top wordplay, and Megalos's whimsical salmon-tinged illustrations provide a delightful counterpoint.... the novel's underlying messages are as timeless as its tethers to classic works of children's fantasy."
"It's impossible to read Galchen's novel without being reminded of Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth. It revels in wordplay and the off-kilter logic that governs the fantastic land that Fred, a nearly 13-year-old girl, enters by stepping through a giant paper lantern in pursuit of her mother.... It is an immensely imaginative, mind-bending journey that explores dealing with change and growing up. Short, creatively titled chapters feature line drawings and lovely illustrations in red and slate blue. Galchen's first book for children is full of heart and celebrates unconventional thinking."
--Julia Smith, Booklist
I love this book. It's a wonder. I wish I'd had Rat Rule 79 when I was a boy. I'd have been obsessed with Fred and her adventures and reread her funny sweet story a hundred times, always finding something new."
--James Gleick, author of The Information and Isaac Newton
"Lewis Carroll, Norton Juster, Tove Jansson, Russell Hoban; like them, Rivka Galchen has written a book for children and adults that occupies its own delightful and preposterous space. Rat Rule 79 feels like it has simply been waiting to fall into our laps."
"Fred is a little bit Alice, a little bit Dorothy, but wholly original and smart, smart, smart. This is exactly how I like my word play. Can't decide if I'm more enamored with the Insult Fish or the Elephant in the Room. Prime mother-daughter book club fodder."
--Summer Dawn Laurie, Books Inc. (Berkeley, CA)
Rivka Galchen's Rat Rule 79 is clever and strange and so very much fun, but what makes Rat Rule 79 so remarkable is the warmth and wisdom that exudes from its pages. A subversive Wizard of Oz for kids too smart for their own good, it's sure to become many a young readers' favorite book for years to come.
--David Gonzalez, Skylight Books (Los Angeles, CA)
"Witty, clever, and bright, Rat Rule 79 is a timeless adventure for readers of all ages. Filled with logic problems, riddles, and sharp word play, the Land of Impossibility is a place you will want to visit again, and again, and again. The characters are vibrant and unique, the prose is snappy and engaging, and the illustrations are whimsical, even with their limited color palette."
--Holly Roberts, Out West Books (Grand Junction, CO)
"Clever and fully entertaining, this humorous middle grade is perfect for parents AND young readers. I love the wordplay, the puzzles and the omnipresent narrator offering asides to the reader. Highly recommend!"
--Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books (Wichita, KS)
"Is there anything Rivka Galchen can't do?! Rat Rule 79 is that book I always longed for as young reader, full of adventure, quirky characters, and short chapters. Speaking of which, the chapter headings alone are worth the price of admission and good for a few chuckles. The storytelling by Rivka Galchen is enough to keep you riveted, but the gorgeous full-page illustrations by Elena Megalos really bring the book to eye-popping life. I dare you to read the first forty chapters and not get hooked."
--Javier Ramirez, The Book Table (Oak Park, IL)
"One of the most ingenious children's books I've seen in ages. Full of intelligence, warmth, and wit. A page-turner in its own right!"
--Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
"A smart, witty through-the-looking-glass journey about a thousand unusual, interesting things and all the big important ones, too: home, friendship, holding on, letting go, and growing up."
--Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love and Great House
"Rat Rule 79 is a labyrinth of beauty, curiosity, and all things strange. Galchen effortlessly captures the chaos of being a thirteen-year-old girl; Fred is wild, half feral, both lost and found. I needed this book when I was a girl. I need this book as an adult. I will need this book when I am one hundred and thirteen."
--Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX)
"Highly charged with wild imagination, very clever word-play, humor, and deep wisdom, Rat Rule 79 is an extraordinary adventure that shouldn't be missed."
--Kendal A. Rautzhan, Books to Borrow . . . Books to Buy
About Rivka Galchen
Elena Megalos was raised in the City of Angels. When she was twelve-going-on-thirteen she dreamed of writing the cookie fortunes for her beloved neighborhood Chinese restaurant, The Unicorn. That, or illustrating a book for children. This is her first one. See more work at elenamegalos.com.