Ratso the rat has a very big adventure at the beach. Hang on, what’s a rat doing at the beach? Well, it's Steven's dad's birthday and Steven is broke. When a schoolmate brings in a pet rat who needs a new home, Steven decides Ratso will make a good present for his dad. But Mum has other ideas. She thinks rats are dirty and destructive. She says Steven has to take the rat back to school. But Steven begs to keep Ratso for a few more days.

Dad's birthday arrives and the family go on an overnight camping trip in their van. Dad fancies some fresh tutatua from Maroro Beach, cooked over a fire on the sand. Steven smuggles Ratso into the van when his parents aren't looking. Everything is going fine - until high tide arrives and the waves start crashing further and further up the beach. Help! In a few minutes the sea will reach the spot where Dad's van is parked. And then Steven remembers that Ratso is hidden in the back of the van. If the sea sweeps away the van, what will happen to Ratso? Steven dashes to the rescue...

This title in the Kiwi Bites series would be good reading for boys who like animals and adventure.

Author's Comment

This story is based on a real event from my childhood. We drove up Muriwai Beach to dig toheroa and camped overnight in the sandhills. When the tide came in and the waves surged closer and closer to our van, we suddenly remembered that our Siamese cat (who liked going camping) was still in the van. I scrambled into the back to rescue the cat - and that was when the biggest wave of all swept up and picked up the van and spun it round... I will never forget that feeling.

When I came to write the story I decided it would be more exciting if the animal had been smuggled into the van. So it had to be something smaller than a cat. A rat was ideal. I went online and learned heaps about how to look after a pet rat.

Reader's Activity

Research the important things to do to keep your pet rat happy and healthy.

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