Avi author writer
Poppy's Return Nothing But the Truth Crispin Cross of Lead True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Catch You Later, Traitor Avi author writer
Christmas Rat
Atheneum, 2002
more fantasy
more young adult
alphabetical book list
 
The Christmas Rat

He is one weird Christmas visitor—his hair and moustache an unearthly white-blond, his voice a gruff rumble. He fills the apartment doorway. From two metal cases he produces what a boy would expect from an exterminator: Toxic roach powders and poisonous fog bombs. But a crossbow?

Eric is fascinated at first. He's been bored this snowbound vacation, and has already zapped about a zillion Zergs. Antsy, he's even sneaked a look at the Christmas presents hidden beneath his parents' bed. Then Anje Gabrail, this exterminator, appears, talking a little madly about his war against rats—about killing them.

"The worst," Anje says. And if Eric sees one in the Eden Apartments, he is to call Anje's twenty-four-hour cell phone immediately. Later that Monday, the fourth day before Christmas, a rat does appear in the building's basement—and Eric finds himself suddenly, frighteningly swept into Anje's vengeful army.

As either partner … or victim.

With only a flashlight.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: I had been asked by a writer friend of mine to write a short story for a collection of stories. I said I’d give it a try. I tried to think of something and hit upon the notion of a boy teaming up with an exterminator to rid his apartment house of a rat.

The problem was, the short story really engaged me and it got longer and longer. What’s more, I changed the focus of the story. I happen to like Christmas stories and always wanted to write one. Could I, I wondered, write a story that was a real Christmas story and yet have it be creepy, even scary?

The Christmas Rat is the result.

Awards and Honors:

Starred review, School Library Journal

Review

“For readers who want a different kind of holiday (or anytime) novel, fast paced and mystifying, with juicy moral dilemmas underpinning the unique plot, this is a surefire selection." (School Library Journal)

Website copyright 2003 - Avi. All rights reserved. Site designed by Winding Oak.
Materials on this website may be copied for classroom or library use but may not be reprinted or resold for commercial purposes.