“Rivka Galchen delivers joy and cleverness reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice in Wonderland, and Hayao Miyazaki movies” (NPR, Best Books of 2019) in Rat Rule 79, a brain-twisting adventure story about friendship, growing up, and peanut-butter-pickle sandwiches.
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.