News: Three Green Rats Book Review

What could Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale teach our children about the importance of green living? A lot. Through this fun, compelling, and inspiring tale written by prolific author Linda Mason Hunter (a contributor to GreenCleaningMagazine) and Vancouver-based Suzanne Summersgill, children aged 7 to 11 (and “precocious adults”) see the eco damages that a town’s residents can do—and they learn some proactive ways to turn the wrongdoings around.

Featuring delightful illustrations by Summersgill, Three Green Rats follows the adventures of eco rats Oli, Wilbur, and Tom, residents of Tintown, where rats are the residents in charge. According to the book’s preface, the rats of Tintown have a problem: ”Tintown was a dirty, noisy place: planes roaring, buses hooting, taxis tooting, sirens screaming. Big idling cars jammed the highways, each carrying a single impatient driver. All earth sounds got lost in the din. The music of wee birds, whistling wind, rustling leaves, rushing water became so very hard to hear. All the dirt, smoke and gassy pollution made the air feel exhausted, thick, and lumpy, like a cloud of bad gravy…Tintowners didn’t care a hoot. They hurried and scurried about and didn’t think about the mess they made at all.”

Through this story filled with fanciful, descriptive prose, the three ultra-green rat brothers get pulled into an adventure that will either ruin or rescue Tintown. Three Green Rats is a fun read that moves quickly and draws readers in, both young and old. And while it’s designed for readers aged 7 to 11, the age range can be greatly expanded. I read this to my four-year-old who couldn’t wait for me to read a new chapter to her each night. She became interested in the characters and the environmental messages were not lost, despite her young age.

No wonder this book was named a 2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist. According to Children’s Literature Network, “What makes the book a fun read-aloud for kids is the author’s fun way with words. The words trip over the reader’s tongue.  “‘My house,’ she wailed. ‘My epilator, my automatic pillow press, my plasma screen, my spyware, my nighttime vision goggles-all my ratopia gone to rubble!’” Try it with your young audiences. It works not only with the environmental message, but as a humor book as well.”

Here, authors Suzanne Summersgill and Linda Mason Hunter, who has written numerous books such as The Healthy Home and Green Clean, shares an excerpt with us from Chapter Two of Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale. This is Grandpa’s Compost Song:
“Cantalope and melon rind,

Rotten veg and moldy grime,

Little twigs and dried-up plants,

Wood chips and torn underpants.

New-mown grass and autumn leaves,

Magazines and plaid shirt sleeves,

Wet cardboard and clipped toenails,

Crumpled napkins, shells from snails.

Fruit skins and dried pea pods,

Fish bones and weedy clods,

Teabags and cabbage leaves,

Eggshells and fresh seaweed.

Everything will die one day.

There is no life without decay.

So to the earth from whence you came

To rot, break down, and green again.”

Erinn Morgan


After a 10-year career as an award-winning New York City-based editor launching and redesigning urban, style-driven magazines, Erinn Morgan left downtown Manhattan after September 11th, 2001, in search of a less encumbered, freelance lifestyle. A two-year-long trek around the country eventually landed her in Durango, Colo., which she now calls home.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Skiing, Delicious Living, American Cowboy, and on

Erinn is also the author of the eco-focused book, Picture Yourself Going Green, Step-by-Step Instruction for Living a Budget-Conscious, Earth-Friendly Lifestyle in Eight Weeks or Less.

She was previously the editor-in-chief of 20/20 magazine, a special projects editor at Playboy (overseeing the launch of a new, custom magazine), and the founding editor/editor-in-chief of SoHo Style, a much-lauded, avant-garde magazine that covered the culture and style of downtown New York and its reach around the world.

More posts from this author →