This I Read Canadian Day, Blast Off with Mortimer: Rat Race to Space

November 1, 2022

Tomorrow is I Read Canadian Day, the day we support Canada’s fabulous children’s bookmakers by reading a Canadian book for 15 minutes.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to read for more than 15 minutes – in fact, we encourage it! And if you want to read books by Canadian authors and illustrators every day of the year, well. Not only will you never run out of fabulous stories to explore, but we will love you more than we already do.

After all, readers are the reason that authors and illustrators get to do what we do: tell stories. Without you, we’d have to be nurses or lawyers or carpenters or truck drivers or teachers or any one of a number of other people whose jobs require them to put on their “leaving the house pants” to go to work. And believe me, pyjama pants are one of the major perks of this job. 😉

Where Can I Learn More About I Read Canadian Day?

This year, I Read Canadian day is happening on November 22. Visit the event’s official website for all the details. There are tons of free resources, including two free, live-streamed author events that are happening on the day!

What Should I Read?

Mortimer: Rat Race to Space by Joan Marie GalatOne of my books, if you like! Or if you’re in the mood for a novel, might I suggest Mortimer: Rat Race to Space, by my friend and space expert, Joan Marie Galat?

Best for readers ages 8-12, the novel is about Mortimer T. Flightdeck, a lab rat with one goal: to prove that rats, not humans, should be the first species to colonize Mars. He’s got a point. After all, rats need less space and less food than humans. They don’t wear underpants, and they don’t waste precious water on stuff like showers. That’s good news in space, where deliveries of supplies from Earth can cost billions of dollars. 

On the other hand, rats aren’t so great a planning ahead, as Mortimer discovers when his impulsive decisions get him into trouble with humans, hungry owls, and other rats in the lab. And while rats love to chew wires, humans are better at hooking them together to create working life support systems. At least, most of the time. As Mortimer discovers when he stows away on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station, space travel works best when astronauts – be they rat OR human – work as a team.

There are several things I loved about Mortimer: Rat Race to Space. First, the eye-popping facts that Joan manages to weave seamlessly into the story. Kids who are following Mortimer’s escapades will learn about space – and rats! – without even noticing. Second, the point of view. Normally when author’s say “point of view,” we mean the character who’s telling the story. And while Mortimer is a charming narrator, I’m using “point of view” to mean “rat’s eye view of the world.” You can really tell that Joan took the time to think about how rats experience the human world. Mortimer gives people nicknames based on their shoes (at eye-level to a rat!) or how their hands feel when they touch him, and he describes his surroundings using this physical perspective and a rat’s frame of reference. For example, one human has a freckle shaped just like a rat’s food pellet! These little details helped Mortimer characters feel authentic and fully-formed.

Also, it’s a fun, fast-paced adventure, perfect for kids who love animals or outer space.

Happy I Read Canadian Day! What will YOU be reading?



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