I Was a Rat


Philip Pullman

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. When Roger knocks on the door, Bob isn't sure what to do, but his wife Joan decides to take him in and feed him. What would you do if this happened at your house? What do you think your parents would do?
  2. Joan and Bob go to the City Hall, the police, the hospital, school, and even the royal philosopher. Do any of the people at these places think he was a rat? Are any of them able to help? Would it have helped if someone thought he might have been a rat?
  3. Did you enjoy looking at the illustrations while reading the book? How do they add to the story?
  4. Did you read the newspaper inserts? Were they very accurate in their reporting? Why might they have been written like that?
  5. The name of the newspaper was The Daily Scourge. One meaning of scourge is whip; another meaning is a way of "inflicting severe suffering, vengeance or punishment." Why would the author use this as the name of a newspaper?
  6. One of the chapters is called "The power of the press. "What does that phrase mean to you? What is the power of the press in this story?
  7. Why did the princess want to be turned back into a kitchen maid?
  8. Could this story be the continuation of a famous fairy tale? Which one?
  9. At the end Roger says, "It's hard being a person, but it's not so hard if they think you are a person. If they think you ain't a person, then it's too hard for me." Can you think of people who aren't thought of as being a person?
  10. Would you recommend this book to friends? To adults? Do you think adults would enjoy it?


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