Just as the viral internet sensation Pizza Rat grabbed the pizza and ran with it, this animal fantasy opens with a New York City subway rat and a slice, and races off on a tasty adventure. In Raffie on the Run, the city itself is vividly a character, though the main characters are animals, including a rat, pigeon, cockroach, show dog, and falcon, with humans making only minor appearances. There's humor when Raffie misinterprets or has a rat perspective on human events. For instance, he calls the food-stuffed garbage can on the subway platform a "treasure chest," and the custodian who empties it, "the thief." Author Jacqueline Resnick ensures that the story is relatable to contemporary readers by referencing social media and having animals talk about selfies, emojis, hashtags, and viral videos.
Though the author used to live in Brooklyn, some of the references to New York seem stereotypical. The huckster squirrel's a character who'd more likely be encountered by tourists than natives. And New Yorkers will know that a tall luxury building wouldn't have an outside fire escape climbing to the 32nd floor. But these small details will fly over the heads of young readers, who'll get caught up in the quest and active adventure. The book's also sprinkled throughout with lovely, lively black-and-white illustrations by Joe Sutphin, adding extra dimension, fun, and animation to the already lively story.