“This YA book ‘The Great and The Small’ is George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ meets Hemingway’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls”….Even though ‘The Great and The Small’ is officially listed as a YA book it easily crosses the fine line that exists between young adult and adult fiction….All in all I have to give this book ten out of ten. The conflict between the rats and the two legs is believable and the essential conflicts between characters are developed well. For me the story moved naturally and believably.”

Richard Grove, Author and Poet


“A. T. Balsara’s The Great & the Small is an irresistibly compelling novel that weaves Gothic and Modern eras into a dark tapestry at times both tender and violent. The story follows a biological warfare attack upon humans by their subterranean neighbors, who are intent upon eradicating their two-footed tormentors by reawakening the Black Death, not least of all for the horrors set upon the rats in the name of medical research. Cloaked in historical guise, and with visceral imagery and startling Stalinist epitaphs, The Great & the Small drags you into the grimy depths beneath cobbled streets, into the intimate relations between rats who at times seem to behave more like humans than their bi-ped counterparts. While the writing itself is graphic and riveting, the illustrations raise the novel to a whole other level. Using a classic sketching style, Balsara displays a wholly unique personification of rats that is nothing less than exquisite. It is the storyline that pulls you down the page with urgency, yet these pictures are so arrestingly beautiful, you simply find yourself stopping to luxuriate in them. With deft strokes, the novel inspires a re-examination of the relationship between humans and non-humans, drawing you inescapably into the discourse regarding humans’ treatment of animals. In this age of intense scrutiny of the destructive nature of humankind towards the entire world, The Great & the Small is an enlightening parable that is as irresistible as it is timely.”

Philip Roy, Author

The Great & the Small“ is a tale unlike anything l have ever read and I was hooked from the start….The author has crafted a very descriptive, darkly-told suspenseful tale where the reader is taken into a world that is often hidden from humans….”

Karen Upper, Librarian 


The Great & the Small is a wonderfully imaginative fantasy adventure written and illustrated by A. T. Balsara. A riveting story about courage, love, compassion, and loyalty—reminiscent of Watership Down (and perhaps just as dark)—we meet a community of anthropomorphized rats who, although they live in their natural environment, possess their own language, laws and hierarchy….Touching on themes of survival, heroism, leadership, political responsibility, alienation, community—and love—the story follows a colony of rats living deep below a market [who have declared war upon humanity]….This enthralling story is told with pulse-pounding suspense….

Kelly Lenihan, Children’s Author


“This book challenges the usual categories with respect to target audience. In some ways it reminds of Sunwing, and it would appeal to middle grade youth. Books for these readers usually feature adolescent protagonists who face their first big choices. There’s a metaphorical dragon to be slain. As challenges are met, they grow in self-acceptance, confidence and wisdom. As they leave childhood behind, they discover how the larger, unknown world works and find ways to understand the human condition….In other ways, this book suits the young adult (YA) category of readers where the problems faced by protagonists are more complex and often enter challenging areas (such as death) and sexual/love explorations, although Balsara delves more deeply into the former. This is also the developmental stage where youth begin to form logical systems and hypotheses, explore abstract ideas, and focus on possibilities rather than realities….Balsara prefaces chapters with vivid quotes from Stalin’s rule and from the era of the14th century plague.  These sombre quotations introduce another element requiring developmental maturity. However, the numerous, finely wrought illustrations counterbalance the dark quotes.  The Great & the Small bridges the abilities of both middle and YA readers.”

Kathryn MacDonald, Author and Poet


“The Great & the Small is a slow burn. Andrea builds up the story by adding complex layers and characters. But I don’t mind that build up though. It is a character-driven book that needs time to reveal itself to readers. What speaks out among these pages is Fin and Ananda, the teenager who saves him. I adore reading Fin’s story, especially his history, which is heartbreaking. I didn’t know if I could connect with a rat, but the way Andrea writes him just makes you fall in love with this deeply conflicted yet loyal rat. And Ananda represents the essence of real humanity. She doesn’t see a rat and cringe; she sees it as a living being that needs as much protection as anyone else. And while the scenes between these two are short, I relished them….”

Siobhan’s Novelties, Blog Tour Host and Reviewer


The framework of Stalinist political oppression and the Black Plague of fourteenth century Europe provide a backdrop for the dramatic, high stakes commentary on interpersonal relationships. Not only is the reader led into the complex intra-personal angst of the characters in the story which triggers deep reflection along relatable themes of bullying, loyalty and free will, but is also led to consider the thread of hope offered by complex iterations of love, sacrifice and service….Balsaras descriptions and dialogue make the context and characters jump off the page….The beauty of the prose, crafted as carefully as the illustrations, is matched by the engaging pace of the plot…..”

Kim Davids Mandar, Writer and Humanitarian


“…In the process of telling the story of The Great and the Small, author A.T. Balsara gives us many details about the real-life plague that took place in the 1300s. Rats were apparently involved in the spreading of that sickness. Having that as a foundation for the war that happens in the story added to its strong emotional impact. At the same time, the fact that 70% of the story is told from the point of view of talking rats keeps it from getting overly heavy. Some might not like the combination of the fantasy elements with the tragedy of war. But, for me, it worked brilliantly….”

~ Readers’ Favorite Book Review



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