Give me your buns and your biscuits! Give me your chocolate eclairs! For I am the Rat of the highway, and the Rat Thief never shares! Life is not safe for the other animals, as the villainous Highway Rat gallops along the highway, stealing their food. Clover from a rabbit; nuts from a squirrel - he even steals his own horse's hay. Will he finally meet his comeuppance, in the form of a cunning duck? A fabulous, rollicking rhyme, in the style of the famous Alfred Noyes poem, 'The Highwayman', from the authors of 'The Gruffalo' and 'Zog.
I have read a few of Julia Donaldson's books and haven't found one I don't like to date. She has such a way with words and her stories and rhymes always give a giggle. All her books in fact seem to have a rhyming song like rhythm to them which I really like. She once again in this book pairs with Axel Scheiffer, I think they make a great story writing duo as they have paired in other books that I have loved.
In this story the highway rat goes around stealing food from all the other animals even food that he really doesn't like like the horses hay and the rabbits clover. He is a greedy glutonous Rat and he wants everything and anything. He has his stand up line he says to each animal as he confronts them to steal their food "I am the Rat of the Highway, the Highway, the Highway, and the Highway Rat never shares. I don't know why but I am always set on reading it in quite a loud upper crust English accent when reading it aloud to children. This always makes them laugh!
All the poor animals are looking thin and fragile while the Highway Rat is disgustingly fat and still up to his thieving ways. That is until the clever, cunning Duck comes along and tricks the Highway Rat into entering a dark scary cave and leaving him behind. The Highway Rat manages to exit the cave but finds himself on the other side of the mountain where he becomes a shop keeper sweeping floors! Quite a change for the Greedy Rat!
All the animals live happily ever after and never see the Highway Rat again! I think it is a clever ending and helps children to understand that actions hurt others and that there will always be consequences if you are cruel to others. The 3 year old I care for can recognise that the Highway Rat is mean. I have been reading this to him every day this week and he hasn't tired of it yet, as soon as I pick him up from kindy he asks for the mean rat story.
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