The Road to Ratenburg is a charming and sweet tale that has a certain classic feel to it. The story follows a family of Ship rats, Spinnaker, Retsina, and their four children, Alpha Beta Gamma and Delta, as they attempt to find the fabled city of Ratenburg.
Their adventure is filled with excitement and danger as the family undertake the perilous journey. They encounter an array of obstacles including a lake full of eels so large they can swallow a rat whole, a bottomless bog that will suck you down to the other side of the earth, the Forest of Perilous Pines where the hawks can sweep down and have you for dinner as well as the constant threat from the humming beans (human beings).
Joy Cowley writes beautifully and manages to give each rat a unique voice and personality making this title a fantastic read aloud for the classroom. Uncle Roger is relentlessly annoying whilst Spinnaker is persistently brave and Retsina consistently charming. Each of the ratlets have distinctive qualities that come in to play at various parts of the journey and we also meet other fantastically portrayed characters such as Signal the leader of the railway rats and Barker the (friendly) cat.
The Road to Ratenburg is a refreshing read filled with delicious descriptions and an ending that gives a pleasant and important message: it’s not the destination that really matters but the journey that takes you there. This book is a piece of quality fiction that will stand the test of time and will make a great addition to any library. Highly recommended for readers 8+ or a read aloud for slightly younger audiences.