THE RED-HOT RATTOONS
Elizabeth Winthrop, , read by Winthrop and a full cast. . Full Cast Audio, $25.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-932076-45-5
Five rat siblings with jazz in their veins—Ella, Monk, Woody, Benny and Fletcher—follow their stage dreams via this solidly entertaining adaptation of Winthrop's funny and adventure-filled tale. When their parents, jazz legends in their own right, die after an extermination raid on a club called the Blue Goat, the five young rodents feel an urgency to make a new musical life. Enter Uncle Switchtail, a family friend and record producer who coaxes out their talent and sends them on their way to Rat Hollow, a city beneath New York City where any rat worth his cheese goes to make it big. However, the Rattoons get less than a warm welcome from their kind and take their jazz and tap act above ground to try performing for humans in New York. Of course, both good times and plenty of danger await them. As street-smart and sweet Uncle Switchtail, actor Bill Molesky steals the show early on with a gravelly rasp sometimes punctuated with a slight squawk. The young cast of Rattoons proves a fine-tuned troupe, conveying childlike naïveté and lots of comic moments. Original jazz music brings it all together, helping set the scene for an encore-worthy outing. Ages 10-up.
Reviewed on: 04/12/2004