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4.6 out of 5 stars330
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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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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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2012
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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on 21 January 2013
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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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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on 7 September 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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The Highway Rat has been pilfering... robbing all animals attempting to use the road of their foodstuffs in a bid to find himself some tasty (and sweet!) things to eat.

This tribute to Alfred Noyes' 'The Highwayman' looks pretty enough, but really doesn't have the same kind of flow to it as past Julia Donaldson efforts such as 'The Gruffalo', 'Monkey Puzzle', 'Room on the Broom' and 'Tiddler'. The slightly cumbersome metre (and parts of the rhyme scheme) are lifted from Noyes, and combined with the occasional eye rhyme make this a bit less youngster-friendly than previous books. The story itself is interesting and quite entertaining, although the ruse through which the Highway Rat is ultimately tricked by a wily duck really isn't all that different from the ploy used by the Mouse in 'The Gruffalo's Child'.

Scheffler's pictures are typically appealing, with scenery and characters that generally belong to the same woodland-theme as those used in the Gruffalo stories.

Overall, this is a nice story - but not a favourite.
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on 13 November 2011
Whichever way you look at it, this is a high quality, beautifully written and fabulously illustrated children's book (written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the team behind The Gruffalo, Tabby McTat and lots of others).

However, I think the authors have become victims of their own success - each book they produce is expected to be a classic, like the Gruffalo. This, I think, accounts for the negative reviews of this book - expectations are so high that people are always going to find faults with whatever is produced.

It is a lovely book - the pictures are great (my son loves the "baddie" Highway Rat and the clever duck that tricks him, even though he doesn't understand the idea of the echo that forms the basis of the trick) and there's loads to talk about with small children. The story is good, with the basic moral that greed is bad. The language used isn't as concise or catchy as in some of Donaldson's other books, but....

My 3 year old son loves this book. Surely that's got to be the best recommendation?!
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on 19 November 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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on 23 December 2011
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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on 16 January 2012
We have quite a few of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books for our 2 year old - they are definately his favourites. I think it's in the way they rhyme so it enables you as an adult to be very creative when reading them out. In this one however I did notice that the highway rat seemed to be a more 'exciting' character than the other animals and our child being fascinated by his sword and saddle bags - so I think perhaps he needs to be a bit older in order to make use of the moral behind the story. The other thing was the ending wrapping up really quickly and no explanation of why or how the rat ended up where he did - no matter though since it gives you freedom to make what you want of the ending to suit.
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