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The Red-Hot Rattoons
By Elizabeth Winthrop

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The Red-Hot Rattoons

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The Red-Hot Rattoons
By Elizabeth Winthrop
Read by Elizabeth Winthrop and the Full Cast Family
Full Cast Audio, (2004)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on 5 CDs
ISBN: 1-932076-47-6
Genre: Children's Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 19, 2004

Prepare to snap your fingers and tap your feet as you listen to jazz music and the ratrific dance stylings of the Rattoons! The offspring of a Jazz singer and a horn player, the Rattoons are five feisty rats names Benny, Fletcher, Ella, Woody, and Monk. When the Blue Goat is attacked by exterminators, the five Rattoons find themselves orphaned and without direction. Left on their own they may have just turned into lazy, good-for-nothing rats. Fortunately, they have a lot of friends and a kindly uncle named Switchtail. The Rattoons have talent, and Uncle Switchtail nudges them out of their doldrums and sets them on a course that will change their lives forever.

Written by Elizabeth Winthrop, The Red-Hot Rattoons is a fascinating adventure story that will delight children and the young at heart. The Full Cast Audio production of this delightful story, which is narrated by Winthrop, is preformed by a full cast of actors and is enlivened by the inclusion of original jazz scores that will have you jumping out of your seat to dance along.

The story follows the Rattoons from their farm yard home to the Big Apple, or more aptly, under the Big Apple. The Rattoons, encouraged by Uncle Switchtail, travel to New York City where an entire rat civilization lives under the city in a realm called the Hollow. Their goal is to one day dance in the Boom Boom Room. To achieve their goal they will have to work hard, and stay out of danger. A fact that becomes all too apparent when they leave the rat Hollow to perform for a Human audience - with hilarious and hair-raising results. In the process of pursuing their tap-dancing dream, they discover just who their friends really are (the world of entertainment is notorious for having its fair share of backstabbers), and just how dangerous the world of humans can be for a rat. The Red-Hot Rattoons is a funny, intelligent adventure story about setting goals, and then finding the strength and the courage to overcome all obstacles to achieve your goal. This story takes you into the very realist world of rat entertainers and into the world of humans - a trip that the Rattoons almost fail to survive!

Each of the five Rattoon siblings is unique. Each has his or hers own quirks and foibles, and their own unique strengths. Alone, they are simply rats, but when they combine their talents they are a truly marvelous and powerful dance trope. Their ability to work together to overcome adversity, and to support each other as they strive toward a common goal is powerful and serves as an unintrusive lesson about team work and loyalty. Although written for a pre-teen audience, The Red-Hot Rattoons is a perfect story for family listening. The story is uplifting, the characters are lovable, and it is easy to empathize with them. Best yet, the characters in this book are brought to life by actors who are so engrossed in their roles that you forget they are actors, and not the characters that they are portraying. Highly recommended!

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