Walter’s World by K.A. Meechan

Walter is a rat of the Norway Clan, with an ancient lineage going back millions of years and across continents. When his clan settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hundreds of years ago, they quickly made it their home, with their burrows and lifestyle changing—evolving—right along with the city itself. With his own family of ten pups and his mate, Poppy, Walter lives beneath the historic Old Town Clock, and ventures out each night to provide them with whatever food he can scrounge up in the areas around the Harbourfront and the Public Gardens.

“Since 1803, when the clock started keeping time for the citizens of Halifax, Walter’s family have called this landmark their home.” pg 1

Providing for his family is his number-one priority, which means taking care of his own safety as well as theirs. After all, if something were to happen to him, who would take care of his pups and his mate? Perhaps that’s why he’s let himself get so comfortable in the familiar area surrounding the Old Town Clock, playing it safe rather than venturing any further, looking for adventure or greener pastures. But when his cousin Ralph shows up, boasting of an endless bounty of food and opportunity to be found a little further afield—for those brave enough to go and get it—Walter starts to question his choices and what is truly best for his family.

“Follow me!” Poppy yelled as she jumped off the gravestone and ran towards the largest monument in the cemetery. Walter caught up to her. She was staring at the monument and reading the name out loud. Alexander Keith, 1795-1873! “Wow, this has to be the tallest grave in all of Halifax” pg 66

In spite of the inherent dangers, including the rumoured re-emergence of the Eurasian Clan—a long-time violent nemesis of the Norway Clan—Walter gives in to the urge to explore with his cousin, seeking adventure and new possibilities for himself and his family. But when his mate wants to get in on the fun, the danger starts to feel very real indeed.

“Continuing forward, Walter knew he would pass underneath the Public Gardens, his intended destination. He could almost taste the floral treats now! Sixteen acres of dining pleasure.” pg 11

A highly entertaining, adventurous story about inclusion, empowerment, and respect, as well as the value of family and diversity, this is the perfect chapter book for young readers, ages 7 to 14.

Review: K. A. Meechan has written a sweet little story of adventure, inclusion, empowerment and respect. This story also illustrates how easily misconceptions can be carried through generations and misinformation proliferated by those who are only interested in furthering their own causes.

The historical information and the information about rat characteristics is seamlessly woven within the narrative. Although lots of information is given it does not disrupt the flow of the story.
There is so much richness here for young people to discover while being thoroughly entertaining.
So much fun to explore a city that I love through the eyes of the rat community.

It was interesting to think of an underground tunnel system with night foraging rats going about their quest for food. The next time I am walking in Halifax in the evening I think I will tread just a little more softly, hoping not to disturb the activity going on below my feet.

There are only a few people I hope DO NOT read this delightful little book. The commissionaires at the Halifax Citadel. If they knew about the entrance to the underground “way” they might seal it off and there would be no way for Walter, and Poppy, to have more adventures, which I definitely hope to read.- March 11- 2023 Lana Shupe Atlantic Book Reviews