Read Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson Online


'Hold the mare for me, lad. And when I come back I'll give you a golden guinea.'It's more money than the street urchin has ever dreamt of. But who is the rider, and why is there so much interest in his big black horse? And will the boy ever see the money he has been promised?There's highway robbery in the air, but it isn't always entirely clear just who is trying to rob wh'Hold the mare for me, lad. And when I come back I'll give you a golden guinea.'It's more money than the street urchin has ever dreamt of. But who is the rider, and why is there so much interest in his big black horse? And will the boy ever see the money he has been promised?There's highway robbery in the air, but it isn't always entirely clear just who is trying to rob who....

Title : Highway Robbery
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780370329574
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Highway Robbery Reviews

  • Betsy
    2019-03-13 16:24

    I've been talking a lot about unreliable narrators in my children's book reviews lately. Not entirely sure why that is. I guess it may have something to do with the fact that I've been seeing a lot more of them popping up in kids books lately. The other day I read and reviewed Max Quigley Technically Not a Bully which had the advantage of being the kind of unreliable that is evident right from Chapter One. Then I recently had the good fortune to stumble on author Kate Thompson's early chapter book Highway Robbery. I liked the cut of its jib. Its easygoing style and plucky hero. I had also heard it was a good unreliable narrator tale, and I was willing to go along with that, but there was nothing indicating to me that the main character was unreliable in the least. Then I got to the end and the whole premise tipped itself over backwards and around. Slim and exciting, Thompson's newest isn't quite like anything out there. And that's a good thing.As our young ragamuffin street kid will tell you, he wasn't bothering anyone. Just minding his own business when this elegant gentleman and his magnificent horse pulled up and spotted him. The man offered our hero a real golden guinea if the boy would just watch his horse for a while. The boy agrees and there begins his troubles. Everyone from girls to farmers to villains wants to take a closer look at the horse. It isn't until a regiment of soldiers arrives, however, that the truth comes out. This horse is none other than Black Bess, owned by the highwayman Dick Turpin. Now the soldiers want the boy to remain so as to lure Turpin into their clutches. Does he dare refuse? And when the story is done, will you, the reader, believe a word that's been said?Kate Thompson is the author of The New Policeman and its sequel The Last of the High Kings. And to be blunt, I was not particularly fond of The New Policeman. I thought it had quite a few nice ideas, but it didn't enthrall me. The text seemed too slow and the pages too many. So, admittedly, I was reluctant to even pick up Highway Robbery at first. When you get right down to it, though, I think that the entire reason I like this book so much has to do with the fact that it does what I wanted The New Policeman to do. It's quick, it's to the point, it's funny, and it's immediately engaging. With this book I can see that Thompson can write a fast-paced and furious title when she has half a mind to do so. And huzzah for that, says I.The funny thing about the story is that it almost reads like a stage play. In fact, if you wanted to turn it into a one-act play for kids it would be exceedingly easy to do so. The main character spends most of the book barefoot and standing in one place. There is one fast-paced chase sequence, but that's easy enough to fake on a stage. No, the impression one is left with is that this was originally a play that Thompson adapted to a book. It's like the Horton Hatches the Egg of Dickensesque middle grade novels. Our hero is given a job that he sees through to the end, no matter what the outcome. Considering the nature of the story, this could also have been a short story spun out a bit so that it becomes an early chapter book. Hard to say how it started.There's a strange moment in the book where our lad (strange that he doesn't have a name, isn't it?) has to make a decision and the decision that he makes is later regretted. Near the end of the tale two villains try to steal the horse and are stopped by the King's men. Our narrator is suddenly given a choice. If he says that one of the men is the guy who gave him the horse in the first place he'll get paid AND Dick Turpin won't get caught. If he doesn't, then Dick could get caught and the boy may get nothing. In the end, he turns in the villain, which he seems to bitterly regret later down the line. You don't usually find protagonists regretting the arrest of villains, but this boy (at least in his head) has quite a few moral conundrums to work through.Illustrator Jonny Duddle does a fine job of bringing the boy's story to life. Interestingly enough he renders the human characters, particularly the narrator, as almost comic book types. There's not a great deal of realism there. Black Bess, on the other hand, is never anything but 100% realistic. I also enjoyed how Duddle took care to obscure your view of the horse in the first picture in the book. You see our hero talking with a tall well-dressed gentleman, weaving the story we're about to read. In the boy's hands are reins, and just the tip of a horse's nose behind him. For all we know, the horse is a nag or an elegant beast. It's entirely open to interpretation.Of course the ideal pairing with this book is alongside Sid Fleischman's The Whipping Boy. Both books employ similar jovial narratives. Both take place in the past. Both show the cream and dredges of society. Both are well illustrated with pen-and-ink pics. And, most important of all, both are remarkably short little tales. Highway Robbery will definitely appeal to the reader reluctant to pick up a book longer than 100 pages (this one has a mere 117 and a large font) and it provides a slam-bang story from start to finish. Strange and a reading delight, kids will get a kick out of this. Whether they trust the narrator or not is another story entirely. Ages 8-11.

  • Eva Mitnick
    2019-02-27 18:14

    No, there isn’t much action in this slim book – essentially, a boy stands around in a nasty, cold, muddy street holding a horse for a gentleman who is conducting some business nearby. Some dubious types come around, wanting to buy (or steal, more likely) the horse from the boy, some nice stolid farmers admire the horse, and then some soldiers come by and tell the boy that this horse belongs to famous highway robber Dick Turpin. The boy must keep holding the horse until Dick Turpin comes back, at which point the soldiers will arrest the famous highwayman.Ah, but it’s the way the story is told that had me racing through the entire book during one short lunch break. The young street urchin, shoeless and homeless, tells his own story (to someone whose identity we learn at the end) in spunky, straightforward, unsentimental terms. It begins “There are good things and bad things about being small. You wouldn’t know about that, though, would you, sir? Fine, tall gentleman like yourself. But it’s true.” The boy goes on to recount how his story, relating (as we find out) how he came by this magnificent horse, the famous Black Bess of legend, and why he is trying to sell her to his (quite dubious) audience. The tone is breezy, describing the events of the story so vividly that the lack of action won’t be noticeable to most readers. The boy’s upbeat narration (in direct opposition to his miserable circumstances) is accompanied by detailed, slightly loopy illustrations depicting a raggedy boy, a glorious horse, and various eccentric characters (I almost said “Dickensian” but of course this story takes place in the 1700s, Turpin’s century).Full of wry humor and a steadily building tension (will those two ruffians steal the horse? Will Turpin get away? Will the boy ever be warm again?), this book is a winner. Recommended for grades 4 – 6, including reluctant readers (this is easy to read and a mere 118 pages).

  • Janine Southard
    2019-03-12 15:24

    A street-kid in ye olden days is given a horse to hold onto, and that's the majority of the action here. What distinguishes the book is the gloriously unreliable narrator and his "telling a tale" voice.Things that happen:* Mark Twain-esque, our protagonist charges some girls for the right to braid the horses hair* temptation by evil* difficult choices between keeping his word and upholding the lawVery fun and lively, the book takes a reasonable turn at the end when we realize that the entire story is a sales pitch for the horse. In true "ye olde" fashion, there's some question as to whether it's a true tale or simply a bit of color to make the horse worth more. But, really, does it matter?This book is labeled as "middle grade", but it might make more sense in the "juvenile" section.

  • Kaethe
    2019-03-18 16:23

    Sly, sly little book. I read it for the Dick Turpin angle, I would recommend it for kids just starting in chapter books, or anyone who's big on street urchins and highwaymen.I'll be reading more Thompson. This reminds me of Twain and "The Ransom of Little Chief", as well as my beloved Scarlett Angelina Wolverton-Manning.

  • Mona Gonzalez-Tricker
    2019-03-26 20:09

    I picked up this quick read and thoroughly enjoyed it! As an avid historical fiction reader, this peaked enough interest to have me investigate Dick Turpin and his adventures. It's short and fact paced; a great fit for the reluctant reader.

  • Susan
    2019-03-08 15:58

    So this street urchin is hanging around, hoping for a hand-out, when this guy, riding an enormous black horse, skids to a halt in front of him and asks him to hold his horse while he attends to some business promising him a golden guinea when he returns. Well the rider is none other than highwayman Dick Turpin whose horse, Black Bess, was as well known as her master. The urchin, however, is ignorant of the identity of the horse and her master. Yet he remains steadfast, though his feet are freezing, resisting offers from well-meaning folk (and not so nice ones) to take her off his hands. Then come the dragoons, in search of the highwayman and street urchin becomes bait in their efforts to bring Turpin down. If you believe his story, that is, 'cause our street urchin is telling the tale for the benefit of a gentleman--but the reader is not fully aware of the circumstances until the end. I thought this might be a good one for third graders, judging by the length, the size of the print, and the liberal use of illustration. However, older readers (4th-6th)will have more fun with the premise and might appreciate more the historical setting. It would be a great read-aloud and a good discussion generator to boot.

  • babyhippoface
    2019-03-19 14:16

    The poor little boy was minding his own business, standing near the street, shivering from the cold and hoping someone would pass him a spare crust of bread, when the tall man on stopped and offered him a golden guinea to hold his big, black horse until he returned. With a rumbling stomach and nothing to eat, what could he do but agree? How could he know what lay ahead? The whole of the action takes place in one spot on the street, yet this entertaining novel for kids moves at a brisk pace. Thompson has done a masterful job of pulling readers into the story. Although they will realize that perhaps the narrator is not as innocent as he proclaims, the boy speaks with such apparent honesty that readers will sympathize in spite of what they instinctively feel to be true. The frequent black and white line drawings are perfectly matched to the story, emphasizing the boy's round, innocent eyes and the squint-eyed expressions of those who approach him on the street. This book should be very popular among the upper-elementary set.

  • Sarah Sammis
    2019-03-11 21:22

    Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson is a short chapter book with a lovely vintage feel to it. It has a few plates of pen and ink illustrations, something I've not seen in recently published books.The story is told as a discussion between the main character, an un-named street urchin, and the reader who has presumably met the boy while going about his or her business.The boy defensively explains why he's holding onto such a fine black mare, far better than any boy in his situation should ever have access to. He's been entrusted with the mare by a well dressed man who has business in town. The boy plans to take good care of the horse because it's more interesting than begging and if does a really good job, there might be extra coins in it for him.In this dialog, the boy reveals details of his day and hints at who this mysterious man might be. One, of course, can guess from the title that the man in question is up to no good.For a book where very little happens in the present, it's a quite the page turner. It can be read in one sitting.

  • Adele Broadbent
    2019-03-13 20:03

    A young homeless boy is looking for a place to beg on the streets on the edge of a city. Suddenly a man thunders towards him on a huge black horse. He leaps from his steed and asks the boy to mind it – his payment will be a gold guinea.The beggar boy stands for hours with the horse while men offer many shillings for it.He is hungry and cold and very tempted, but keeps hold of the horse in the dark.When a group of soldiers arrive, they tell him the horse is ‘Black Bess’ - the steed of none other than the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin.The boy is ordered to stay with the horse as bait, but when they learn Dick Turpin has been captured elsewhere they try to take the horse themselves.But the beggar has other ideas…A wonderfully written story, told from the beggar’s point of view direct to the reader with a clever, surprising ending. 7+ boys will gobble this up.

  • Aranruth
    2019-03-06 21:23

    A young orphan boy recounts the tale of how he came by the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin’s horse, Black Bess. The street urchin tells of his adventures since first being handed the horse with a promise of a guinea, from having girls pay to braid the mare’s mane, unscrupulous men trying to buy and steal the horse to acting as bait to catch the highwayman himself. Only at the end is it revealed who the boy is telling his story to and the reader must decide how reliable the narrator is. The story is a quick, fun read as an early chapter book. Illustration help tell the story, giving the characters personality and showing the action.

  • Miss Pippi the Librarian
    2019-03-05 19:26

    Quick and enjoyable read - perfect for a waiting room or an early chapter book reader. If you like to mingle with excitement, horses and thieves, it's a book for you. Love the illustrations inside the book and was disappointed to see the cover does not match the inside sketches. In the other editions section, I noticed that some covers are different than the one reviewed here. I think it is important to have illustrations match throughout the entire book unless the characters clash throughout the book, like "Hello, My Name is Bob."

  • Paul
    2019-03-18 15:58

    Review written: sometime before 9th May, 2015Highway Robbery by Kate ThompsonWhy I read it: Continuation of my quest to read everything Kate Thompson ever wrote.Rating: 3/5What I thought: Pleasant enough, but somewhat unremarkable. Well-paced though, and with plenty of charmingly grotesque illustrations. I do like too that it mostly takes place in a single location, plus (view spoiler)[the unreliable narrator twist at the end (hide spoiler)] is very much appreciated. No fantasy elements whatsoever either! Which is interesting.

  • Clay
    2019-03-13 17:07

    I'm a big Kate Thompson fan and thoroughly enjoyed this short, large-print illustrated swashbuckling chapter book, but think it's for a much younger audience than its publisher (they say middle grade novel/10 and up/5th grade and up), though older children may enjoy it, too. Great b/w horse illustrations, terrific silver-tongued urchin, and a wonderful, large-hearted black horse owned by the legendary 18th-century highwayman Dick Turpin--or not. You decide. Recommended for all, but especially good boy or horse-lover book.

  • Brooke Shirts
    2019-03-22 17:59

    A clean-as-a-whistle, sharp-as-a-thistle tale that draws on 17th century highwayman legends. A young street orphan is asked by a mysterious stranger to keep an eye on a horse -- which may or may not be Black Bess, owned by the infamous robber Dick Turpin. It's difficult to present ethical dilemmas in children's novels without straying to far into didacticism, but this little number does it with subtlety and style. The protagonist's voice is so richly fleshed out that this book might even make for a good dramatic monologue.

  • Suebee
    2019-02-28 19:04

    Slim, quick read (not terribly easy due to historical English language and idioms) that was suspenseful and would make a great read aloud.A beggar boy with no boots is asked to look after a mare , for which he will receive a golden guinea. Turns out the owner of the mare is the famous "wanted" highwayman Dick Turpin.I have a version with a terrible cover - does not portray the inside illustrations or the tone of the story well at all. Looks like a girl or boy riding a horse.

  • Gwen the Librarian
    2019-02-23 18:21

    I really wanted to like this because there is so little variety for 3rd-4th grade readers besides the ubiquitous series. It's the story of a guttersnipe boy in early 19th century England (?) who is asked to hold the horse of a highwayman. Lots of different people come up and talk to the boy about the horse and even try to steal it from him. In the end, the reader has to decide if the story was even true or if the boy made up the story to sell the horse. Kinda fun. Not my favorite.

  • Aimee Walters-Mabbott
    2019-02-27 21:24

    I'm lucky enough to have grown up knowing this author Kate Thompson, daughter of the late historian E.P. Thompson and Dorothy Thompson. Another children's novel conveying a mystery- will the dark stranger be revealed? Could it be the notorious Dick Turpin? A suspense filled book that will promote lots of rich book talk and will have children wanting to read on, it is ideal for key stage two children both as a lone read or as a shared book.

  • Alyson Whatcott
    2019-03-03 18:15

    I am a big fan of Kate Thompson, but this was probably my least favorite book. I had read about a big spellbinding ending, good for discussion, and my imagination ran away with me. I found the ending much more subtle that anticipated, so I was left feeling a little flat. Cute story, just not my favorite.

  • Nick
    2019-03-14 13:17

    A fun, quick read based on a tale of the outlaw Dick Turpin...or is it? The nature of the story is a rambling tale told by a young urchin who was stuck holding the famous outlaw's horse, through a long day and night.Not great literature, and the vocabulary will confuse some of those of the age suited to the story, but it's a generally good book.

  • Chelsea Couillard-Smith
    2019-03-24 18:07

    What a surprising, delightfully deceptive book! Can't give much away, but it's not as straightforward as it seems, and young readers will love the puzzle it offers. A very quick read, reading level for young/middle elementary readers but with a challenge that will appeal to older ages as well. This would be a fun book club option.

  • Abby
    2019-03-21 21:14

    I really enjoyed this book: it's rare to find a chapter book that's suitable for younger (upper second and third grade) readers that has good literary value. This would make an excellent book group book for the library's third grade book group...think I'll pass the title on to Jennifer, in case she needs another book choice for that group...

  • Lorelei
    2019-02-26 17:05

    There isn't a lot to this book, but the originality and the author's ability to leave readers wondering make this book stand out. After all, who can blame a little boy for staring in awe as a mysterious man with a midnight black horse rides into town? A story of wonder, this book is one many horse- people can relate to.

  • Den
    2019-03-07 15:24

    I read this book to one of my pupils. Neither of us were overly impressed. It is about a young boy who is asked to hold the reins of a horse as the owner disappears. It aspires that the horse is none other than Black Bess, the steed of Dick Turpin.

  • Virginia Walter
    2019-03-20 20:59

    I loved The New Policeman and the Last of the High Kings. This one, not so much. A guttersnipe tells us how he came to be guarding Dick Turpin's horse Black Bess. Or maybe it's all a lie... Who's fooling whom?

  • Pat
    2019-03-08 19:08

    A young street urchin tells the tale about his adventure/ordeal in being entrusted by the famous Dick Turpin to hold his horse while Turpin ran an errand.. Kids should love it. Lots of artwork ala Illustrated Classics. I enjoyed it as an entertaining short story and quick read :-)

  • Andi
    2019-03-11 14:27

    A cute little book about a street urchin who supposedly protects and cares for the horse of a famous highwayman. However, little urchin narrators are hardly trustworthy. A fun little book with great illustrations. 5th grade and up.

  • Ellen
    2019-02-24 19:58

    Who is fooling who in this old fashioned story.

  • Lana Krumwiede
    2019-03-06 19:06

    A quick read, a strong voice, and an interesting main character. The reader has to decide whether the boy is telling the truth or not. I can imagine some fun classroom applications.

  • Leslie Barberie Blount
    2019-03-09 15:03

    Very good book for kids just getting into chapter books. There are a lot of pictures, that add to the story. There is action and a little twist at the end. Great book.

  • Lilly
    2019-02-26 17:59

    i thought it was a pretty good book