Monday, June 08, 2009

Highway Robbery, by Kate Thompson

Highway Robbery, by Kate Thompson, is a cute little illustrated children's novel. The story is told through the experience of a nameless street urchin. One day as he's begging on the streets a man on a horse whisks into town and the man asks the little boy to take care of his horse while he runs an errand. Hours later the man hasnt' returned, and two shady characters try to bribe and trick the boy into giving up the horse. As it turns out, the horse may be the infamous Black Bess--the property of a famous highwayman named Dick Turpin. Hot on the heels of the thieves are the King's soldiers dead set on capturing Dick Turpin and bringing him to justice.
While the story is cute, I also thought it largely unremarkable. The best part of the whole thing is that the narrator may not be trustworthy, as the entire tale is told as if he's trying to sell the supposed Black Bess to a potential buyer for money to buy food and pull himself out of his dire financial situation.
The illustrations in this book were suitably moody. Drawn in pen and ink, they were the perfect accent.
So, yeah, maybe I wouldn't re-read this one, but if you have a kiddo I think they'd probably enjoy it. It's adventure, horse tale (no pun intended), and it's a quick read.

1 comment:

  1. It probably doesn't help either that the real Dick Turpin was not the dashing and charming figure he's usually made out to be, but in fact quite unpleasant even by the standards of thieves and killers. The persona he's usually portrayed with tends more to be that of one of his contemporaries, whose name eludes me, perhaps suggesting how inneffective it was to be a polite highwayman.


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