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The Highway Rat [Board book]

Julia Donaldson , Axel Scheffler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
Board book 5.99  
Paperback 3.45  
Audio Download, Unabridged 4.37
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Book Description

6 Mar 2014
Beware of the Highway Rat. He'll steal your food ... and your heart! Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's bestselling story is now available in a chunky board book format, perfect for babies and toddlers. The Highway Rat rides along the highway stealing all the travellers' food. But a crafty duck and her mysterious sister soon put an end to his crooked ways!

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Frequently Bought Together

The Highway Rat + Tiddler (Board Book) + Tabby McTat
Price For All Three: 13.99

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  • Tiddler (Board Book) 4.00
  • Tabby McTat 4.00

Product details

  • Board book: 30 pages
  • Publisher: Alison Green Books; 1 edition (6 Mar 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1407139320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407139326
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 16.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julia Donaldson, the 2011-2013 Children's Laureate, is the outrageously talented, prize-winning author of the world's most-loved picture books including The Gruffalo and What the Ladybird Heard.

The Gruffalo, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, is now a children's classic and publishing phenomenon; celebrating 15 years in 2014, selling over 3 million copies worldwide, was voted Great Britain's favourite bedtime story on BBC Radio 2 and was adapted and broadcast as an animation on BBC 1 on Christmas Day 2009. The Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom are now also films, with Room on the Broom shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2014. Julia Donaldson's most recent books with Axel Scheffler include Superworm (2012), Highway Rat (2011), Tabby McTat (2010), Stick Man (2009) and Tiddler (2008).

Julia Donaldson has also published work with David Roberts, Nick Sharratt, Emily Gravett, Rebecca Cobb, and Lydia Monks. Her collaboration with Lydia Monks began in 2003, with the first collection of Princess Mirror-Belle stories. The fabulously glittery Sugarlump and the Unicorn is their sixth, and most recent, picture book collaboration. She also writes poems, plays, songs and fiction for older children and, together with her husband Malcolm, has performed her wonderful stage shows all over the world.

Product Description


"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." - "School Library Journal "starred review, Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN Praise for STICK MAN "Scheffler's engaging illustrations, Donaldson's irresistible rhyming text and repeated refrains make this a winning read-aloud that will stick around long after the holiday season." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Donaldson and Scheffler's poignant, suspenseful profile of an inanimate object recalls Laurie Keller or THE VELVETEEN RABBIT. Donaldson's rhymes never skip a beat, and Scheffler personalizes the many animals, people and settings in his witty watercolors. This yarn could become a December perennial." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review "Donaldson's rhythm is tight and never b --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Julia Donaldson is currently being honored as the UK Children's Laureate, and has written many bestselling picture books and novels for young readers. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland, with her husband, Malcolm. Axel Scheffler's award-winning books include ROOM ON THE BROOM, THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE, and THE GRUFFALO. His illustrations have been published in more than thirty countries. He lives in London, England. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Highway Rat 27 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was inspired by the poem, "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. The Highway Rat was a 'baddie' and a 'beast' - he robbed all the animals of their food, even his own horse of his hay. Eventually, all the animals are thin and hungry and the Highway Rat was 'horribly fat'. Then, when he tries to rob a duck she has nothing to steal, so he decides to eat her. The quick thinking duck tricks him, and takes his loot to share with her friends.

The text of the book obviously takes time to become familiar, but it is a nice story, with a good message and the illustrations are excellent. Like all Donadson's books, the text reads like a song or poem and asks to be read aloud. My children particularly liked the Gruffalo biscuits in the cake shop at the end, but there is more to this author/illustrator team than the Gruffalo, as beloved as those books are. I have a feeling that this will also become a favourite bedtime story given enough readings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovelly little book! 30 Sep 2012
By D. Richards VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this for my niece was is a huge Gruffalo fan,(also by Donaldson) and she was thrilled to bits!

The story itself is very clever - based on the poem of "the highway man", the "highway Rat" steals other animals' foods and has to pay the price for his misdemeanours from a very clever Duck!! Its certainly on a par with the Gruffalo in terms of storytelling and charactarisation, and the manner in which it's written is very clever indeed. My niece loved the rhyming style of the book, and loved the illistrations, which are also superb!!

The book is very well presented, with large text "woven" in to the illistations, and each page is not too text heavy to put off younger readers. The ideal reading age for this book is somewhere between 6-8 years old I would say, although a strong younger reader could also give it a go. The hardback version is also very sturdy and will hold up to many readings - which it may have to condsidering the way she's taken to this book!

All in all, a lovely book that made a young girl very happy and its an ideal present for both birthdays or christmas.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab for a teacher. 21 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book! I brought it to read to my reception class, the rhymes are great (some people said they didn't like them but I found that so long as you find the pace they're fab), I thought the book was going to be too sad at first, but the ending where the rat is actually happy because he gets to eat cake means it's still a great read. The illustations are great, especially the dopey looking horse.

My favourite thing about this book is that a lot of the boys in my class aren't interested in books or storytime at the end of the day, but the voices I'll be able to do for the highway rat mean that I'm sure they'll love it! Also, the rhymes and repitition will be good for the children in my class that don't speak english.

All round great book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A firm favourite in our house already! 7 Sep 2011
Based loosely on the structure of the poem 'The Highwayman' as another reviewer previously noted, this book is superb and is already on my little boy's nightly story list - he's 3 and a half. (It helps if you familiarise yourself with the poem's rhyme and rhythm in order to get the best out of reading 'The Highway Rat' aloud so only 4**** not 5 for this reason.) I personally love it and I think Donaldson has come up with another firm favourite.

The Highwayman This is studied by Y5 children (ages 9-10) as part of the Literacy Framework.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My five year old nephew really liked this book 4 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Got this for my five year old nephew who loved it. Storywise the title says it all. Although a long term 'Gruffalo' and 'Room on the broom' fan, this time, being older, my nephew was really aware of the rhyming in the story. He and his mum both thought this was a great book and rated it 5*. They said "it's as good as the others, and very boy orientated". They thought the book had "a good amount of words by Julia Donaldson and a good amount of pictures by Axel Scheffler". So for our 5 year old boy, it stands up well and delivers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highway rat 23 Dec 2011
By mairin
When buying a book for a child you want a jolly story that flows easily and leaves the child thinking about the story long after you have read it to him or her. This is a lovely book with a very important moral message. It is beautifully illustrated and I am looking forward to reading it to the child who will be receiving it for Christmas.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!!! 19 Nov 2011
Loved the original poem and now my 4 and 2yr old love this book. Great story, the text is of course spot on for the little ones, who are at the age where they are full of righteous indignation at 'that baddie' rat, so love the duck's cunning trick. So glad to have the wonderful illustrations of axel back together with Julia's perfect rhyme. Already almost committed to memory from the continuous reading requests!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Masterpiece! 6 Nov 2011
By Emma
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We're big fans; another excellent read from our favorite duo. My boys love it, aged 2 & 4. as descirbed & delivered in good time
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