Rats to the Rescue

The Unlikely Heroes Making Cambodia Safe

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Pub Date Sep 10 2024 | Archive Date Aug 31 2024
Lerner Publishing Group | Millbrook Press ™

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Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and species!

Growing up in Cambodia, Malen knew that dangers from a long-ago war lay hidden underground. Buried explosives forced her and many others to live, farm, and play in fear. As she got older, Malen learned how to use a metal detector to find and safely dispose of these landmines.

Five thousand miles away, in Tanzania, Magawa was also learning how to find landmines. But he didn’t need a metal detector—he had his nose. Magawa was a rat, and his smelling superpower and light weight helped him safely sniff out dangerous explosives.

After completing his training, Magawa joined Malen in Cambodia, and together they cleared more than a hundred landmines from fields all across the country. A fascinating true story with a hopeful ending and rich back matter from Scott Riley, author of The Floating Field, with Sambat Meas, a Cambodian deminer, and Cambodian American illustrator Huy Voun Lee.

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and species!

Growing up in Cambodia, Malen knew that dangers from a long-ago war lay hidden underground. Buried explosives forced her and many others to live, farm...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9798765607985
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 17 members

Featured Reviews

Scott Riley delivers another book that celebrates hope and teamwork happening around the world in places both big and small. Rats to the Rescue is an inspiring and interesting story for readers of all ages. Young students will delight in learning about hero rats and the important role they play in healing a country. Scott has deep ties to Cambodia through his years of volunteer work with Caring for Cambodia. His love for Cambodia shines through in Rats to the Rescue. It's exciting that readers will want to learn more about Cambodia, its history, its people, and its path forward from atrocities. Scott is carving a niche for himself in the literary world with these inspiring stories of resilience. He delivers stories from around the world with care, curiosity, and compassion.

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Not only does this book educate young readers about a significant time in Cambodian history, but it also teaches to hope and resilience through the actions of deminers who are working to help restore Cambodia to a safer country, free from landmines. I read this book with my elementary school aged children, and they were especially intrigued by Magawa, the skilled Tanzanian rat. A memorable story that I am happy to use in my teaching!

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In many parts of the world there are daily reminders of wars fought decades ago. In Cambodia, landmines dot the surface of the landscape. Everyday adults working in farms and fields, or children playing on those farms and in those fields run the risk of accidentally tripping one of these old mines. Fortunately, there are trained human and rat professionals to carefully map the land and diffuse the landmines.

“Rats to the Rescue” is the story of Malen, who grows up to learn how to use metal detectors and other tools to find landmines and disarm them. She teams up with a bomb-sniffing Tanzanian rat named Magawa to become even more efficient. Malen and Magawa, and other teams of humans and rats, worked tirelessly to find and eliminate the danger. This story will have you cheering for the rats and their people.

This is a great book for kids who like animals, especially rats, and those who like stories of everyday heroes.

I received an advance review copy for free from NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group Millbrook Press, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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"Rats to the Rescue" is a captivating and heartwarming picture book that sheds light on the incredible bond between humans and animals in the most unexpected of settings. Through vivid illustrations and poignant storytelling, readers are taken on a journey alongside a young protagonist as they work with a Rat trained in Tanzania and brought to Cambodia to help clear landmines. This true story not only educates but also inspires gratitude for the remarkable work being done to make the world a safer place. A must-read for all ages, ‘Rats to the Rescue’ is a poignant reminder of the power of compassion and cooperation."

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RATS TO THE RESCUE is an incredible story of Malen, a native Cambodian person, who became a deminer, and Magawa, a rat who can sniff out TNT!
I had no idea what a deminer was before reading this book, and had little knowledge about Cambodia outside of the ruins of Angkor Wat. Landmines were placed all over Cambodia during their civil war, as well as during the Vietnam War. The author’s note at the back explains that there are still 3 MILLION unaccounted for land mines still buried in the area.

That’s where the rats come in! Rats are amazing at sniffing out TNT, so the Cambodian demining team began using rats to find these mines.

This is such a fascinating book!!! This topic is so intense, and interesting to me. I really really enjoyed this book, and I think it’s one of my favorite nonfiction books published this year.

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Scott’s debut picture book, The Floating Field, captured the hearts and minds of my students and family. Now I’m excited for Rats to the Rescue, Scott Riley with Sambat Meas to do the same! In this riveting story, readers learn about human deminers who work with specially trained HeroRATs to locate land mines. I can’t wait to incorporate it into our libraries and lessons. and I appreciated the in depth back matter to help me learn even more about a story most of us would never know otherwise! In addition, Huy Von Lee’s illustrations are beautiful and engaging, acting as the perfect reflection of Scott and Sambat’s story. Great great addition to any library!!

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Scott has a gift for finding interesting stories highlighting unique cultures across Southeast Asia! I enjoyed this book as much as his first, The Floating Field. Talking about war, landmines, and danger can be tricky for a children's book but Scott makes the topic approachable and easy for parents to use as a discussion starter with their own children. There are so many stories happening around the world that we often never hear about and each time we are given the gift of a story the hope is that it impacts the way we see and live our own story. Hat tip to Scott, Sambat, and Huy Von Lee for capturing and sharing this story!

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While I knew about the danger of landmines in Cambodia, I wasn't aware of the heroic measures STILL at work to demine the fields and create safe places for citizens in the villages. This book not only raises awareness -- for children and adults -- it humanizes the situation and elevates the wonder of cooperation and bravery between humans and super-smart rats. Who knew?!? This book will open eyes and hearts as it educates, entertains, and enlightens. So appreciative of the backmatter that will answer readers' questions and pique even more curiosity.

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I was so excited to read this book. I've visited the APOPO rats before and was overcome by the hero rats there. They are so smart, capable, and large! More people should know about the good work that they do and Scott Riley's new book is the perfect way to promote it. I enjoyed reading this with my seven-year-old, but I will also be purchasing a copy for my classroom library. We study ancient civilizations and Angkor Wat is prominent in the illustrations in Rats to the Rescue. I highly recommend it.

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Thank you to Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press, and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this title to read and review. Wow, this book was just exceptionally done. The story really puts a spotlight on how long-ago battles can be actively effecting modern livelihoods (especially the lives of kids), in this case through undetonated landmines. It's also illuminating for young readers, without being too scary, despite how scary it is to live through. It's clear that everyone involved in creating this book are close to the subject matter and have a lot of care for solutions and new innovations helping out Cambodia, and helping others learn through these stories. The rats are *such* an interesting contribution to the mine-finding work, but there are also so many human heroes working to make the country safer. Everyone should check this out!

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Where there have been wars since the 1800s, there have been land mines that continue to maim and kill unsuspecting people. Years ago, Princess Diana walked through an active landmine field in Angola to expose its danger, and before that there was publicity about these killing remainders in Europe leftover from WW2. But it was the wars in Southeast Asia, and especially in Cambodia, that left the most concentrated areas of minefields and have proven the hope, bravery, and resilience of the Cambodian people working with trained Giant African Pouched Rats, also rightly known as Hero Rats, who have made the biggest difference in the safety of the people. This book explains it all to us!
The illustrations by Huy Voun Lee are clear, representative, colorful, expressive, and I love the renderings of Angkor Wat.
Well suited for reading alone or WITH someone of any age, including ESL, and great for gifting to everyone, especially to a school, church library, or your local public library!
I requested and received a free temporary EARC on Adobe Digital Editions from Lerner Publishing Group | Millbrook Press ™ via NetGalley. Thank you!

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