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Highway Robbery


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A wonderful beautifully illustrated short story for young readers featuring the most famous highwaymen of them all and his wonderful horse, Black Bess.

About the Author

Kate Thompson is one of the most exciting authors writing for young people today. A born storyteller, her work is highly original and she is thought provoking in her ideas. She has travelled widely in the USA and India and studied law in London. After living in County Clare, she moved to Kinvara in County Galway and there, she discovered her passion for playing the fiddle. She is now an accomplished player and also has a great interest in restoring instruments.Kate is the only author to win the Children's Books Ireland Bisto Book of the Year award four times - in 2002 for The Beguilers, in 2003 for The Alchemist's Apprentice, in 2004 for Annan Water and in 2006 for The New Policeman.The New Policeman also won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2005, the Whitbread Book Award Children's category 2005, the Children's Book of the Year in the Irish Book Awards in March 2006 and has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.In 2008 Kate was again shortlisted for the Children's Books Ireland Bisto Award for her book, The Last of the High Kings, a beautiful and haunting story that delves deep into the magic of Irish myth and folklore.


Gr 3-5-In this slight yet entertaining novel, a young unnamed urchin explains to a potential buyer how he came into possession of the horse he's offering for sale. It seems that a wild-looking gentleman asked him to care for it and not move from that spot until he returned in exchange for a guinea. Even while enchanted with the prospect of more money than he's ever known, the boy considers the offers of passersby to take the animal off his hands and deals with the moral quandary of whether he should sell it for more than the owner promised him. As he continues to wait the gentleman's return, he learns from a soldier that the man he encountered was actually the legendary highway robber Dick Turpin, and that the horse is the equally legendary Black Bess. The story that the boy spins has the structure of a classic folktale. Thompson leaves a sense of ambiguity as to whether it is true, or if it comes from an unusually active imagination. Readers are left to decide whether the urchin is telling the truth or is performing a major act of highway robbery on readers. Teachers might use this tale as a perfect example of an unreliable narrator. Black-and-white drawings capture and accentuate the period feel and clarify the Victorian-era setting.-Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

A young beggar recalls the momentous night he happened to be in the right place when a stranger galloped into town, promising a gold coin if the boy would watch his horse until he returned. The unnamed narrator has his loyalty tested repeatedly as passersby can't help being intrigued by the incongruous pair-barefoot urchin and glorious steed ("I had never in my life been offered so much money by so many people, and yet I still hadn't seen a penny of it"). Finally, the king's men arrive, announcing that the horse, Black Bess, belongs to the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin. Now what? Staying with the horse will surely lead to Turpin's arrest. Thompson (The New Policeman) frames the story as a sale-after Turpin is arrested elsewhere, the boy tries to sell the horse-and in doing so, she introduces a host of ambiguities. Was the boy as true to Turpin as he said? Is the horse really Black Bess? It's a suspenseful and tautly written story as is, and Thompson's sly twist makes it all the richer. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Stunningly illustrated and fast-paced, this story for younger readers brings to life the legend of the most famous highwayman of them all - and his amazing horse * Four Shires Reading Room *

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