Ratbags 4: Take Flight
192pp., graphic novel, RRP $A14.99
Rats, in general, do not have a good reputation for being friendly and kind, and The Ratbags are no exception. Their goal in life is to make trouble and to look for naughty things to do. They dream of mayhem and believe rules are for losers. Except for one – Jigsaw. He got his name because he does not fit in, like a puzzle piece that won’t squeeze into place no matter how much you twist and turn it. Jigsaw likes both rules and humans so he doesn’t fit in with the other rats and they shun him.
In their fourth adventure in this series, The ratbags are on holiday on the trash-filled Scum Island, where everything is just how the ratbags like it – terrible! Even cats are kept in line by a high-flying falcon, who puts on a show for the ratbags! But when Cracker is carried away to the falcon’s lair, Jigsaw starts to worry… is the pesky falcon a feathery friend or foe? One thing’s for sure, with the ratbags in town, the holiday is packed with action, danger and VERY bad manners.
In previous reviews I have focused on the popularity of characters and subjects that make adults squirm and their power to appeal to reluctant readers as well as the attraction of a format that is text-light, illustration-heavy but has a quality story that focuses on familiar elements of friendship, standing your ground against peer pressure and being yourself , and this has been proven by a request from a young lad asking if I had the latest one yet. Not known for his affinity for reading, this was a surprise and one I took pleasure in satisfying (as did my contact at Penguin Random House). Who knows where this series might take this newly-independent reader as he explores the wide world of stories in print.
Maybe this will be the way forward for one of your students to…