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The Highway Rat Hardcover – April 1, 2013

32 customer reviews

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Go to School, Little Monster
Go to School, Little Monster
Helen Ketteman’s soothing rhymes and Bonnie Leick’s sweet watercolor illustrations combine to create a reassuring first-day-of-school story that’s perfect for little monsters everywhere. See more | More by Helen Ketteman
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2-Inspired by Alfred Noyes's "The Highwayman," Donaldson tells the tale of a swashbuckling rat with mask and cape who stops hapless travelers and takes their food at sword point. While he prefers chocolates, puddings, and cakes, he steals clover from a rabbit, nuts from a squirrel, and even hay from his own horse. "The creatures who traveled the highway/grew thinner and thinner and thinner,/While the Highway Rat grew horribly fat/from eating up everyone's dinner." A brave duck in a red kerchief lures the thief to a distant cave, supposedly full of biscuits and buns. While he follows the echoes of his own voice deeper and deeper into the dark, the duck jumps on Rat's horse and takes the stolen food back to her hungry friends. Eventually he emerges on the other side of the hill, becomes a reformed rodent, and finds work sweeping the floor at a cake shop. Scheffler's rich, dark palette creates a brooding atmosphere just right for the Highway Rat's dastardly deeds, and his cartoon-style characters are a wonderful tongue-in-cheek contrast. Humorous details abound, including Gruffalo cookies in the cake shop from this British duo's The Gruffalo (Puffin, 2006). This well-paced, rollicking tale is a guaranteed storytime treat.-Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TNα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Inspired by Alfred Noyes’ The Highwayman, the dashing but dastardly Highway Rat (sporting a hat and cape that would befit Zorro) travels the roads on his steady stead, plundering anyone and anything that he happens upon. The bounty is pretty paltry—clover from a rabbit, nuts from a squirrel, a leaf from some ants—but that doesn’t deter him. He even steals flies from a spider and his own horse’s hay. But then a duck tricks him into entering a cave. After he becomes lost, emerges from the other side horseless and hungry, gives up his life of crime, and lands a job in a cake shop—where he can finally indulge in all the treats he only hoped for as a Highway Rat. The wide-eyed, brightly colored cartoon illustrations depict a masked rat that looks more goofy than menacing. With rhyming text that uses the refrain of I am the Rat of the Highway, this is a rascally natural for group read-alouds. Grades K-2. --Randall Enos
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545477581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545477581
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 11 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julia Donaldson is the author of many successful books for children, including the classic THE GRUFFALO, which has won the Smarties Prize and the Blue Peter Award for the Best Book to Read Aloud. THE GRUFFALO'S CHILD was one of the biggest best-sellers of 2004 and won WHS Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Julia has also written many children's plays and songs, and runs regular storytelling and drama workshops. She lives in Glasgow with her family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We recently bought The Highway Rat and both my 4 and 7 year olds liked it. The illustrations are so detailed and interesting, the story is fun, and We love the rhyming verse.

If we could only pick one Donaldson/ Scheffler book it would be Snail and the Whale which I find just magical, followed by the Spiffiest Giant in Town, Stick Man, The Gruffalo, Room on a Broom, and then the Highway Rat tied with A Squash and a Squeeze.

All these books rise so far above the average children's books - they're captivating! Ranking several of the Julia Donaldson books above The Highway Rat is a reflection of the many top-notch children's books this author has written, not a diss of this book. Highly recommend them all!!!

There are also many good Julia Donalson books that she wrote using different illustrators; the all time best of these is Tyranasaurus Drip.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Young on June 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you like Room on a Broom and Gruffalo, you'll love this new picture book from the same team. The words are a take-off on The Highway Man and the tempo of the rhymes is excellent.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rich on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My 4 year old grabbed this for his book this week and has asked to read it every night. He loves the clear badness of the rat and how he gets his due in the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Geordielass73 on February 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent as are all books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Schiffler. A dynamic combination. We own The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Snail and the Whale and Tabby McTat. Our 30 month old daughter LOVES them all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As grandparents of four, all under 5 years old, we were delighted to be introduced to the work of Julia Donaldson through her book and animated production, available on Netflix, of 'Room On The Broom'. We immediately purchased the hardback book and each of our grandkids can recite it verbatim! Since then we have purchased the 'Room On The Broom' dolls (witch, cat, dog) and several of the other works by Ms. Donaldson. The illustrations are wonderful and each book is delightful and imaginative. The children love each and every one!
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Format: Paperback
Anything by Julia and Axel is gold. But I have to say that this isn't quite as wonderful as 'Gruffalo' for example. My son was a bit non-plussed by the cruel and greedy rat story - not a lot to get your teeth into. He is born in the year of the rat and to him it made no sense that the wily Rat would suddenly end up in the *SPOILER* humble and diminished role he did.
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By Caroline Ancelet on July 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My current favorite children's book.
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By Tonia Martin on May 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Again a great take on an old story. Good one to use in a simple little play with a class.
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