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Many parents will know Margaret Atwood for her many wonderful novels for adults, chief among them being The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin, which won the 2000 Man Booker Prize. Far fewer are aware of her foray in to children’s books, which makes the team at Bunnie Buzz hopping mad (haha!) because they are so deserving of a wider audience. So without further ado we’d like to introduce you to the delightful Rude Ramsay and his rodent pal, Ralph the red-nosed rat.

Rude Ramsay resided in a ramshackle rectangular residence with a roof garden, a root cellar, and a revolving door. A rampart ranged down the right-hand side of the run-down real estate.

So begins Atwood’s Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes, continuing in this delightfully alliterative fashion for the book’s entirety, perfectly pairing Atwood’s penchant for story-telling and poetry. A picture book format, it is often considered more suited to a younger audience, and certainly children of all ages will enjoy this tale being read aloud to them, where the real rhythm and whimsy of the text can be heard - and at 13 pages arguably perfectly sized for bedtime reading. The real joy, however, is in reading it for themselves and mastering all the wonderful R sounds that Atwood had rapaciously plundered from her dictionary, probably (hopefully) plundering some for themselves, until they can read through at break-neck speeds without becoming tongue-tied, and have a vocabulary that is the envy of their peers and the delight of their English teacher.

The text is perfectly realised in Dušan Petričić's illustrations, and it is a pairing that puts one in mind of Dahl and Blake (Revolting Rhymes). Readers wanting more of the same from both should look for Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda, where Atwood works more alliterative magic with the letters B and D, and Petričić reprises his illustrative role.  
Aimee Albert, literary editor
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