Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tatty Ratty

The problem with having two blogs is that one of them is always falling behind. I'm sad to say that it has been this one. But my hope is to change that today. I'm going to plan to spend this wonderfully rainy weekend working up some reviews ahead of time. I figure if I have a bit of a cushion, I'll be more likely to post frequently. I'm going to start with a couple of the books that Jeff brought home for me during my ankle recovery.

In Tatty Ratty by Helen Cooper, the story follows a young girl who leaves her beloved stuffed rabbit on the bus. After initially being crushed by the loss her parents encourage her to imagine all the adventures that her bunny can get into by himself. First he hops off the bus, then finds a train to drive home. After having breakfast with the three bears and riding with Cinderella in her pumpkin coach, he sails off into the sunset with pirates (during her bath-time of course). But a dragon picks him up from the pirate ship and sails him up to the moon. There he is cleaned up and his fur which has been cleaned and renewed, is dusted with moon dust until it glows white. After his cleaning and primping, a spaceship takes the new looking bunny and delivers him home. Well, not quite home, but close enough that the little girl can find him at the local store.

I loved how this book took a very typical situation, a lost toy, and created a number of little stories based around it. The mixing in of familiar nursery rhyme characters is wonderful since they are figures that children have been exposed to all their lives. They will get a kick out of recognizing the stories. This is a great story to tell any child dealing with a missing favorite toy and may get them using their imagination to think about what their toy is doing. The story mixes the routine of the household along with the adventures of the bunny, so that we see what the girl is doing to inspire each story change. Each story is really there to show how the bunny gets cleaned up for the ending. When driving the train he gets his buttons back. During breakfast with the three bears he gains enough weight to fill out. The encounter with the pirates includes a dunking in the sea which washes his fur. And then of course the scene with the man in the moon makes that fur again. The subtle foreshadowing leads to the wonderful ending in the store. I loved the ending where the little girl feels that she's found her bunny all cleaned up and fresh at the store the next day. A sweet story that reminds me of the stories I told about my toys when growing up.

The artwork is beautiful, soft, and colorful. The sections will Molly are realistic and although they are colorful, are scenes that we've seen every day. But once the story switches to Tatty Ratty's adventures the rules of perspective and realism are tossed away. The images become more colorful and cartoonish. The scene where Tatty Ratty returns to earth from the spaceship, using a big red umbrella is one of the more beautiful images I've seen in a while. You can see a bit of it on the cover above. It was wonderful to watch the bunny go from his ratty self at the beginning to the cleaned and soft looking bunny at the end. I'm not sure what media Cooper uses but the colors and the soft edges makes the artwork even sweeter. A wonderful book for a child who's lost a toy, or anyone who likes a little imagination along with their toys.


  1. we were reminiscing with our twelve year old twins this evening about books we used to read at bedtime and this one was one of their favourites. They remembered all the story but none of us could remember the name of the bunny, thank goodness for google! This is a lovely book and is safe up in the attic for when i have grandchildren!

  2. I'm glad that this post helped you remember. I'd never read the book before and instantly loved it. I can see why your twins did. And now your grandchildren will have a wonderful story to share with you and with their parents. Although kids are never too old to be read to. You can always break it back out for your twins. I still like being read to.

    Thanks so much for the comment and sharing a bit about your love for the book. It's become a favorite of mine too.