As I mentioned recently, my two-year-old daughter is completely obsessed with The Highway Rat at the moment. The animated version – which was on BBC1 over Christmas – has really captured her imagination. Indeed, she regularly recounts favourite moments in the same intonation as the voice talent!
She was very happy, then, when a review copy of The Highway Rat DVD arrived. Featuring the voices of David Tennant, Rob Brydon, Nina Sosanya, Frances De La Tour and Tom Hollander, the adaptation brings the book to life brilliantly.
If you’re not familiar with the story, you can probably guess the basic plot. A greedy rodent steals food from other creatures before learning his lesson.
What I really like about the adaptation – and, indeed, the other Donaldson/Scheffler-inspired animations – is the way that it is so faithful to the original while standing up on its own too.
For example, while the story is quite rightly told word-for-word, the rat is much more likeable. There’s a specific scene towards the end – don’t worry; I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it yet – that doesn’t appear in the book but which complements it beautifully. It’s creative and insightful and adds to the story without the addition of extra dialogue.
Extras include a live performance of The Highway Rat. This features both Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, which I think is a lovely touch. There’s also a nice behind-the-scenes feature which shows how the thieving rodent made his way from page to screen.
It was interesting to learn about the inspiration for the tale as well as the animation process. I was fascinated to see how the animators approached a scene in which the rat steals flies from a spider’s web. So much goes into the briefest of moments and this definitely shows in the finished product.
We love The Highway Rat and will be watching it again and again now we have a copy of our own.
The Highway Rat DVD is available to buy from today. In addition, I have three copies to give away. You can enter via as many of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below as you like. Good luck!