Years ago, I remember seeing a study which found prejudices increased as the size of a group increased. That is a big part of what this endearing “children’s” book is about. It is a fast-paced story of an apartment building filled with different kinds of animal-people who are shocked to learn that a family of “rats” has moved in downstairs. They tell one another, each animal confirming and compounding their worst fears in hilarious fashion. Each joins the group who is marching downstairs to confront the new family.
Along the way, though, the charming illustrations reveal that some of the current residents themselves may be the ones who are messy, smelly, etc. Once they reach the first floor, they hesitate in fear and trepidation. And, when the door opens… they discover a wonderful surprise — while we all learn that prejudice is as typically wrong as it is unfortunately common. It’s an important lesson for children (of all ages) to learn.
Of course, my younger children don’t consciously follow all that, they just love the story, it’s engaging layout, and the delightful illustrations. I bet yours will, too!