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Book Cover for: The Rat Queen, Pete Hautman

The Rat Queen

Pete Hautman

From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman comes a mysterious modern-day fairy tale about developing a moral compass--and the slippery nature of conscience.

For Annie's tenth birthday, her papa gives her a pad of paper, some colored pencils, and the Klimas family secret. It's called the nuodeema burna, or eater of sins. Every time Annie misbehaves, she has to write down her transgression and stick the paper into a hidey-hole in the floor of their house. But Annie's inheritance has a dark side: with each paper fed to the burna, she feels less guilty about the mean things she says and does. As a plague of rats threatens her small suburban town and the mystery of her birthright grows, Annie--caught in a cycle of purging her misdeeds--begins to stop growing. It is only when she travels to her family's home country of Litvania to learn more about the burna that Annie uncovers the magnitude of the truth. Gripping and emotionally complex, Pete Hautman's inventive yarn for middle-grade readers draws on magical realism to explore coming of age and the path to moral responsibility.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
  • Publish Date: Sep 10th, 2024
  • Pages: 400
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.25in - 5.50in - 0.00in - 0.81lb
  • EAN: 9781536239782
  • Categories: Family - ParentsSocial Themes - Values & VirtuesFairy Tales & Folklore - Adaptations

About the Author

Pete Hautman is the author of many acclaimed books for young readers and adults, including the National Book Award-winning Godless, the Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning Otherwood, Slider, Eden West, and the Klaatu Diskos trilogy. He divides his time between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Praise for this book
Through exemplary storytelling, Hautman builds a fairy tale within a fairy tale, interspersing stories from Annie's book throughout and creating a captivating world in Litvania. Like most stories of this nature, there are dark corners to explore and challenging lessons to be learned, but the overall effect is magical.
--Booklist (starred review)

Remorse, honor, and forgiveness are just some of the themes in this creepy, symbolically rich saga. . . Complex and provocative.
--Kirkus Reviews

Intricately plotted, atmospherically sinister novel. . . interweaves portentous Litvanian fairy tales with intriguing, white-cued modern-day characters.
--Publishers Weekly

In this spooky fantasy, Annie finds a book of folktales from Litvania, her parents' homeland, and begins reading magical stories filled with clever girls and menacing beasts. . . . Her adventures are bound to find an eager audience in readers who value determination and moral fortitude in the face of an increasingly confusing grown-up world.
--The Horn Book

There is a slippery, tricksy nature to this novel, evoking a fairy tale feel tinged with just a hint of horror--this is a world that can be elegant and dreamy while also being literally overrun with hordes of rats. Hautman uses pace effectively to keep the reader guessing.
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Author Pete Hautman skillfully weaves the history and legends of Litvania (the not-quite-real country of Annie's family) into this tangled tale of guilt, responsibility, growing up and...rats.
--The Virginian Pilot

Half magical, half in the real world, 'The Rat Queen' keeps the reader on edge because there's a feeling that something scary is going to happen on the next page.
--The St. Paul Pioneer Press