“In the window was a rat. I looked at him. Half of his whiskers were missing. ‘I’m a bargain!’ called the rat through the glass. ‘I’m only 1p! Choose me!’
This wonderful first person picture book is the story of a boy who goes to the pet shop sale. The basic structure is a list of all the animals on sale and how much they cost, but some witty presentation and a running commentary from the desperate rat make this a thoroughly enjoyable read. Bamboozled by the prospect of a salamander (6p) a skink (7p) and a gecko (8p) the boy asks, “Which one is which?” “Nobody knows! Nobody cares!” says the rat. “Sausages on legs! You don’t want one of those!” The animals in this pet sale are all remarkably cheap, especially the Komodo dragon which retails at a staggering 25p, for reasons which become clear at the end of the story.
This is a delightful book with flaps and a final pop-up which will be enjoyed by adult and child alike. (I defy anyone not to laugh at the cardboard box of ‘assorted little brown creatures’, 10p the lot.) Reading this you could discuss which animals you might like to take home, and which ones (surely the Komodo dragon?!) you might leave in the shop. With older children you could talk about the rat and why he is so keen to be bought, as well as playing numeracy games adding together the total price for the different animals.
Mick Inkpen has written a large number of highly regarded picture books but this relatively unknown little gem is up there with the best of them.