Book Review 'The Highway Rat' a Book for Children by Julia Donaldson
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Book Review 'The Highway Rat' a Book for Children by Julia Donaldson

“The Highway Rat” is an adventure story for children. Generally children love tales of adventure and this book will not disappoint them. The hero of the story is a greedy rat who is keen to rob food from other animals. Thus the rat grasps food from a simple rabbit, a carefree squirrel as well as a group of ants. Julia goes on to describe how the rat lures an innocent duck and robs the poor bird of its food.

English literature covers a vast field for adults. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of children’s books. There are very few writers who write exclusively for children. Thus when a talented writer like Julia Catherine Donaldson MBE appears on the scene she needs to be appreciated. Julia Donaldson is a British writer, playwright and performer. She was born in 1948 in London and studied Drama and French at Bristol University.

She started her career as a teacher and later took to writing and performing songs. Along with her husband Malcolm, she directed two musicals for children. She has written many for children. Her latest book titled “The Highway Rat” will delight children. The book also has excellent illustrations that sustain the interest of a child.

The Highway Rat” is an adventure story for children. Generally children love tales of adventure and this book will not disappoint them. The hero of the story is a greedy rat who is keen to rob food from other animals. Thus the rat grasps food from a simple rabbit, a carefree squirrel as well as a group of ants.  Julia goes on to describe how the rat lures an innocent duck and robs the poor bird of its food.

 The beauty of the book is in its presentation. Julia adopts a style that will appeal to young children and lure them into reading the book again and again. Illustrations always have a special meaning for children and the book has a string of excellent illustrations. The illustrations not only depict the story but have a special appeal for children who can correlate the illustrations with the story, thus building up interest.

The story has a moral and in the end when the rat loses everything to the witty duck, the writer brings out the simple fact for children that crime does not pay. In the end the duck having got all his food back gallops away on a horse, leaving the rat high and dry. This delights young children who do not like an evil person winning. This book by Julia is actually inspired by the classic poem “The Highwayman". It is the genius of Julia that she has turned the poem into an excellent tale about food and greed for children.

 The text is simple and easy to understand. This can be a great help as it can serve as a foundation for introducing year 2 or 3 children to poetry and adjectives in literacy lessons.

 Julia Robertson deserves credit for writing this lovely tale of adventure for children. She richly deserves the 2011–2013 Children’s Laureate title.

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