By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)
Fairfield, CT – Fairfield Woods Branch Library was overrun with rats Wednesday afternoon as teens took paintbrushes in hand to boldly decorate rubber rodents in celebration of the townwide One Book One Town program.
The OBOT program spotlights Allan Wolf’s “The Watch That Ends the Night”, about the sinking of the Titanic and featuring the voices of various crew and people aboard. Among the voices is a Ship Rat, who doesn’t so much speak as skitter about and explore. Wednesday’s “Rat Parade” workshop at the 1147 Fairfield Woods Road site recognized the lowly rat and allowed teens to exercise some creative expression.
Gathered at tables in the Library’s Down Under Teen space, young people in grades 7 to 12 worked with colorful blobs of paint to colorize the rats. Teens being teens, they chattered, gossiped and tapped away at their iPhones while working on the projects. One teen even summoned up “Colors of the Wind”, the theme song from the film “Pocahontas”, on her electronic device, as well as the theme song from “Titanic”, as appropriate background music.
“Plan your rat design before you begin painting,” advised Teen Librarian Jennifer Laseman, at the outset of the activity. Teens heeded her guidance, adopting their own unique approaches.
“I’m an anglophile and love all things British, so I chose the Union Jack as my rat pattern,” said Katie Stepsis, 14, of Fairfield.
“I’m doing a gay pride rat,” said Indiana Whiteman, “promoting equality for all – something completely different.”
Working busily on her rat, Meghan Saladino, 15, said, “I like abstract things and I draw, so my rat reflects that.”
According to Wolff’s book, there actually were rats aboard the Titanic. They regularly gained passage via the mooring lines or hidden in food stores or other cargo.