Simple Living Works!

Three Green Rats

Posted on: February 23, 2013


Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale

(For ages 7 to 11 and precocious adults)

by Linda Mason Hunter and Suzanne Summersgill

The Story

There’s trouble in dirty ol’ Tintown. Nature has vamoosed and mean Mrs. Misrington is getting richer by the minute. She loves the racket of cars zoomin’, taxis tootin’, trucks roarin’ and the smell of smokestacks smokin’ because they all mean that business is boomin’. Now Mrs. M has gotten it into her head to cut down the last patch of trees in town to make way for her crowning glory—a big-box store right at the end of Broken Bottle Lane.

But something is brewing and it’s not just the compost. Can three recycling rats stop Mrs. Misrington and lead Tintown back to a saner, cleaner life before the whole place goes up in smoke?

My Opinion

This book is especially useful because it shows the lead characters at ease with simple, Earth-friendly living. It is a satisfying lifestyle, not a burden or sacrifice. It also shows that non-conformists can be heroes.

Although pedagogical, the story is engaging and humorous. The climax seems a bit convenient, but it works.

Although pricey, this book is well worth it, especially if you follow the Simple Living Strategy below.

110 pages, ten short chapters plus a glossary, quality paperback (2012). Printed with eco-integrity on recycled FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper using vegetable based/soy inks. $18. For more info about the book and characters and to order, visit

Leaders of the Pack

The publisher HunterInk@PinnStudio is a collaboration between Suzanne Summersgill (a Canadian illustrator) and Linda Mason Hunter (an American writer). Together they work on creative projects using a “walk softly on the Earth” approach to bring attention to the urgent matters of Mother Earth. They are the best of friends and laugh together A LOT.

Linda, an award winning writer, has written and produced 13 books on architecture, design, and living in balance with nature. Her first book was reviewed inThe New York Times and she has appeared on “Good Morning, America,” CNN, Pacifica Radio, MSNBC, and the CBC, among others. She’s written hundreds of articles for national magazines, and currently hosts “The Green Zone,” a daily radio program of tips for sustainable living. She divides her time between a few square feet near Kits Beach in Vancouver, BC, and an old farmhouse in Des Moines, Iowa, where she relishes the drama of the skies.

This is her first work of fiction and her first children’s book. “Today’s children are inheriting the daunting challenge of a planetary crisis,” she says. “We need to educate their hearts as well as their minds. We need to encourage them to be compassionate, to be socially responsible, to cherish the inherent interconnectedness that binds us all.“ See

Suzanne has been contributing to the Eco movement for the last 25 years. “My creative work has always been about striving to make a difference in my own backyard,” she says. Her mandate–craft in harmony with nature.

Suzanne’s work has appeared in several publications, on HGTV, and in movie producations. She works under the name pinnstudio, illustrating for clients and her own line of prints using tossed-out papers and discarded finds. She lives a frugal life in Vancouver, BC, a few blocks from Linda’s misty retreat.

This is her first children’s book. She credits Quentin Blake (who illustrated a score of books for Roald Dahl) as inspiration for her loose quirky drawings. See

Evolution of an Eco-Tale

The main characters in Three Green Rats crept into Suzanne’s head through an open window in a dream one night. Next day, the cunning creatures whispered into Linda’s ear immediately captivating her with their charm, wit, and thrift. Once inside our heads this mischief of rats spun an improbable tale about a miracle that occurred not long ago in the sooty city of Tintown. Three Green Rats is their tale.

A Mischief of Rats

Oliver “Peeyew” Green (AKA OLI) is the janitor and most popular instructor at the new Walk Softly Community School for Earth-Conscious Living.  He organizes and sells Found Things.

Wilbur Aloysius Green (AKA WILL) teaches engineering and design at the Walk Softly Community School. He is a founder and chairman of the board of the Refresh Renew Regenerate Foundation.

Thomas Ernest Kenworthy Green, III (AKA TOM) teaches landscape design, horticulture, and mindfulness at the Walk Softly Community School. He supervises the urban farm atop the roof of the school which supplies local produce to every rat in Tintown. At sunset and sundown he can be found atop his compost heap, meditating.

Maybelline Burlingame Helena Stu (AKA MAYBEE) attends Tintown Elementary, but she’d really rather be outside.

Simple Living Strategy

I recommend buying books for your public library so they can be shared with anyone/everyone in your community. Get a copy, read it, read it to a child or grandchild (several times!). Then let others know that it’s available at your public library. Buying books to line your shelves or impress others is fruitless. Books may seem to give a sense of security but mostly they collect dust.

Or urge your library to buy books that you recommend. Then let your friends know about it when it arrives. I generally recommend progressive-minded non-fiction. Then I publish a regional eNewsletter that goes to about 750 people. If you have 25 people on your email contact list, send them a quick note when the book arrives in the library.

This is pro-active simple living. You are sharing twice — the book itself and the intentional email announcement/recommendation.


Gerald Iversen, 2/23/13

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1 Response to "Three Green Rats"

Great new resource, thanks for the nice review and the publicity of the the new book!

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