This Christmas we are really looking forward to watching The Highway Rat, a 30-minute animation of the popular children’s story by Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. It’s made by the same people who produced the Stick Man, Magic Light Pictures, so I think we’re in for a real treat.
The Highway Rat
The Highway Rat is a brilliant story. In case you haven’t read it recently:
‘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. Then he finally meets his comeuppance, in the form of a crafty duck…
This fun rhyme, inspired by the famous Alfred Noyes poem, ‘The Highwayman’, is beautifully illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
The Highway Rat Story Stones
We’ve been re-reading the story recently. My 6 year old is really enjoying reading on her own and hardly needs any help from me anymore.
To help her re-tell the story I made her some The Highway Rat story stones, using images of The Highway Rat, his poor horse, and the people he steals from – Squirrel, Duck and Rabbit.
Story stones are so easy to make – I simply Mod Podged the images onto smooth stones. The Mod Podge dries clear so you are left with a really sturdy story-telling prompt.
The Highway Rat animation
In the new animation from Magic Light Pictures, David Tennant plays the Highway Rat, Rob Brydon is the narrator, Tom Hollander is Squirrel, Nina Sosanya is Duck and Frances De La Tour is Rabbit. I can’t wait to watch this with the children – hopefully on Christmas Day.
The Highway Rat Activity Trail
That’s not all. You can also get out and about with the family this winter with The Highway Rat Activity Trail thanks to the Forestry Commission. At selected woods across the UK you can take part in The Highway Rat Activity Trail, completing activities and spotting characters along the way. You can also purchase an activity pack containing activity leaflets, a Highway Rat mask, stickers of the Highway Rat characters, a pencil and a crayon (you can also download the Highway Rat activity sheets here).