Just in time for National Poetry Month, I have a fantastic new book by Julia Donaldson to share. The Highway Rat is the story of a dastardly character, a rat so mean and wicked that he steals the food of every creature he meets on the highway. Donaldson is the Children’s Laureate of the UK and she tells the story in rollicking rhyme that is inspired by the classic poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes .
The highway rat was a baddie.
The highway rat was a beast.
He took what he wanted and ate what he took.
His life was one long feast.
His teeth were sharp and yellow, his manners were rough and rude,
And the Highway Rat went riding-
Riding along the highway
and stealing the travelers’ food.
The illustrations by Axel Scheffler are bold and funny. You can’t help but be charmed by the wicked but debonair rat. Donaldson creates the perfect ending for her Highway Rat.(Parents of preschoolers don’t need to worry, his fate is much less bloody than the original.) He gets his come-uppance thanks to a clever Duck but still has a happy ending.
This is one we all enjoyed. Afterwards we looked up the original Noyes poem and read that too. (Some of you might recognize it as one of the poems Anne Shirley recites for “the real authoress”.)
Poetry Friday is hosted today by Read, Write, Howl.