River Rats

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by Stevermer, Caroline. (Harcourt, 1992 ISBN 0 15 200895 0) Novel. 214 pages. Grades 5+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
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Review

The River Rats have survived since the Flash by a loosely structured society in which of them (now only six) has a skill necessary for the survival of the group. They have commandeered a paddle boat and are using it as their refuge, home and means of travel. Some cities and towns have survived and the River Rats visit these locations, deliver mail, play their music (powered by ingeniously set up batteries) and receive food and goods as trade. When they somewhat begrudgingly rescue a man from his determined pursuers, the Lesters, they become the target of not only the Lesters, but the Wild Boys as well because the man, King, has things stored in a secret hideaway that are of immense value: guns.

The book is better than most books on the subject because it deals with the many ways people survive and refuses to judge them as good or bad. It also has literary connections: to Mark Twain and Pandora's box. It's exciting and should bring up some interesting thoughts and discussions.

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