"Once upon a time there was a family of rats: The father, Raton; the mother, Ratonne; their daughter, Ratine; and her cousin Rate. Their servants were the cook, Rata, and the maid, Ratane.
Now, my dear children, these worthy, esteemed rodents had such extraordinary adventures that I cannot resist the desire to narrate them to you.
These adventures took place in the age of fairies and magicians, and also during the time that animals talked. Still, they didn't talk any more nonsense than did people of that epoch, nor any more than do people of today, for that matter. Listen, then, my dear children, I begin!"
It is hard to believe that this small treasure was almost lost to the English-speaking world. First published in the French magazine Figaro illustre in 1893 and reprinted in Verne's posthumous 1910 anthology Hier et demain, it has never before been published in any form in English or separately in book form in any language! This beautiful new edition brings the magic of Jules Verne to English-speaking children of all ages.
The name Jules Verne conjures up many images--a trip around the world in 80 days and journeys to the moon, to the center of the earth, and 20,000 leagues under the sea. We think of him as an optimistic prophet of the 20th century. What a pleasant surprise to discover that Verne could also turn his fanciful and fertile imagination to pure fantasy and fairy tale. Adventures of the Rat Family is a droll story, full of action and surprises, with a cast of characters guaranteed to enchant and amuse.
The adventure takes place "in the age of fairies and magicians, and also during the time that animals talked." The whole family of rats has been magically transformed by the evil magician Gardafour and is now languishing as a family of oysters. Can Ratin, our hero, wait for Ratine, his beloved, until she is transformed to her true form once again? Can he, with the help of the fairy Firmenta, outfox Gardafour and the evil prince Kissador, who scheme to keep the beautiful Ratine locked away forever?
Verne's tale is exciting and spellbinding for young readers, and older children and adults will enjoy his clever and biting satire on the social mores of his day. Original color illustrations by Felician Myrbach-Rheinfeld are beautiful, evocative, and very amusing.
This lost gem of children's literature will fast become a classic among children, their parents, and teachers.
Last updated November 30, 1998