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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-08-06 22:33
Subject: #43 Philip Pullman: I Was a Rat!: Or, the Scarlet Slippers
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Tags:books, reviews
Philip Pullman: I Was a Rat!: Or, the Scarlet Slippers

Paperback: 179 pages
Publisher: Corgi Yearling Books (4 Nov 2004)
ISBN-10: 0440866391
Category(ies): Fantasy/Children's

When the servant girl went to the ball, her coach was a pumpkin transformed, and rats were her pages. But come midnight, one of the pages wasn't back at the coach, and he remained a boy.

OK, so this isn't quite the Cinderella story. Not quite - there are no wicked sisters to be seen, no mention of glass (or fur) slippers. What this story is is a satire on tabloid journalism, as the lost pageboy Roger is first taken in by an old childless couple (he a cobbler, she a laundress), but then ends up in a freak-show, then as a thief, and finally as an apparent monster and focus of a panic press campaign. But it all comes right in the end (even if not by the press suddenly getting an attack of morals).

Much of the story is carried by front pages of The Daily Scourge, an organ that seems to embody the worst propensities of the Mail, Express or Sun, and the message of the story is 'Don't believe what you read in the papers'. As such, that's a good enough message for me.

Gentle satire wrapped round a fairytale.
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