Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ratty

  For an upcoming  feature on water voles for Ranger Rick magazine,  I was asked to portray "Ratty" or "Rat", one of the characters in The Wind in the Willows.
  I loved that book as a child, and hope to revisit it.
  I looked at many wonderful illustrations, including EH Shepard, Robert Ingpen,  and Inga Moore ( her version is my favorite, although I do not own it; must get).
  Then there is this comprehensive ''best-illustrated'' reference book.
  For those who have not read this classic,  Mole decides go out to the river, and meets Ratty (a water vole), who at this time of year spends all his days in, on and close by the river. Ratty takes Mole for a ride in his rowing boat. They get along well and spend many more days boating, with Ratty teaching Mole the ways of the river.
  Water voles used to be common over all of Great Britain, but  in the 90's began to disappear. People brought American minks to Great Britain to raise them for their fur. Many escaped and were so good at hunting voles for prey, the numbers of voles dropped fast.  More of their habitat was ruined when livestock trampled their banks and ate the plants that the voles needed. Conservation groups are working hard to reestablish their numbers, and hopefully they will not only live on  in the pages of a book!



Look out, Ratty! Rapids ahead!




 I love being able to merge illustration with an actual photo. Great fun!


 Hi; I'm  Ratty, your river guide.


Goodbye, little voles!



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