The brown rat, or rattus norvegicus, is a common rodent found all over the world. Rats are probably one of the most misunderstood animals. Some people view them as pests, and yet, others see them as pets. I've never owned a rat, to be honest. As a kid, rats always freaked me out a little. I'm not sure why, but maybe it was their long, hairless tails or the fact that they had been given such a bad rap. I had hamsters when I was a kid, just like Nicole holding Nibbles here. Hamster were kind of like rats, minus the slithery tail. My mom tolerated hamsters, but not rats, so they were out of the question.
In my first published picture book, A New Job for Dilly, the main character is a brown rat. About a year ago I sat down to write a story about a rat on a pirate ship. I'm really into pirate history and rats were a big part of every ship. They chewed through the boats, ate the food, and were even bred to be eaten when times got tough at sea. Basically, that's how Dilly began, except his name was Scabby. The story didn't get too far and eventually Scabby started looking for jobs so he didn't have to steal his favorite food -- pickles. After it was written, I let my family read the manuscript and they all liked it, except for one thing. "Why is he called Scabby?" they all asked. It was a good question, since there was no reference to why he was called that. The name was simply brought over from the pirate ship idea. So, I sat talking to my friend Paula on IM one day and we were discussing names. The conversation turned to pickles and that's how the name Dilly came to be. It fit him perfectly! I still haven't given up my idea of a pirate rat, so maybe that will materialize someday. But for now, Dilly the rat is here to stay.
Today Adrienne is hosting my Dilly tour at her blog, The Story Board. She has posted some fun facts about rats that you might not know. In addition, she's come up with some very clever job opportunities to go with them. I loved how she tied that into my book. Please stop by her blog and check it out. Look for yesterday's entry too because she posted some really cool photographs that feature rats. She has a great blog and always has funny things to say, so you'll definitely want to come back to visit her. Thanks also to Sherrie, Beth, Elysabeth, and Sharon for helping me with this tour to promote A New Job for Dilly. All of my hosts have been awesome and very creative. I couldn't be more blessed to have such great friends. And it's not over yet! We still have 2 more days to go and more Dilly fun planned.
Remember, you can win a free, autographed copy of A New Job for Dilly by simply leaving FOUR comments at the various blog tour stops. It's not too late to go back to any of them to comment, so please do so if you haven't already. A New Job for Dilly is available through 4RV Publishing, LLC. It can also be ordered through any bookseller. The ISBN codes are listed on my website. However, if you'd like an autographed copy of the book, you can order one directly from me and I'd be happy to sign one for you or your child. And finally, I want to thank everyone who has been following my blog tour this week. Dilly & I really appreciate your support!