The Robber Boy
Written by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by Lynette Hemmant
Reviewed by Rafael P. (age 10)
Stand and deliver! Tod Golightly came from a long line of robbers. His mother's family were sheep stealers, and his father's family were footpads, robber that robbed travelers on on the road. They were called low tobies. Later his father was caught stealing and was killed. It was up to Tod to carry out the family tradition,stealing, and he finds out it's not easy. Tod finds a slow moving donkey named Matilda who is tired of being mistreated by her owner. She asks Tod to steal her. So Tod decides to set out to make his fortune. He tells his mother that he will bring her gold coins, pearls, and precious stones, enough for a king's ransom.
They go to the house of Matilda's owner and spot a tremendous mastiff named Digby who has also been mistreated, so Tod steals him too. The three start to get hungry so Matilda tells Tod and Digby to go to a village and find something to eat while she grazes on vegetation. Tod and Digby go to the village pie shop and steal meat and fruit pies. At the pie shop they found a foul smelling ferret named Evil. They decide to take him along as well. That morning they ate more pie for breakfast and met a clever magpie named Loudmouth. Matilda tells Tod not to trust the bird, but he decides to let her join the robber band anyway.
Finally, they finished their journey by making a place to stay in the forest of Savernake, a place near The Great West Road where all the holdups as high toby(a robber that robs stagecoaches)are made. Unfortunately, Tod was caught by the Bow Street Runners(an organization where people catch high tobies) and was put in jail. He was put on trial with only his friend Parson Appletree to defend him. In the end Tod wins his case and is free to go. He promises never to steal again and decides to stay and live with the parson and they became the best of friends.
My favorite part of the story is when Tod is scared of the tremendous Digby and then realized that he was more sorrowful than fierce. Because the author described Digby as a sad and melancholy dog, I felt sorry for Digby. They're three characters I found interesting, they are Tod,Matilda,and Evil. I found Tod interesting because he wanted to be a robber, yet he was very soft-hearted. I found Matilda interesting because she was smart but somewhat steady, and she had a saying "slow but steady wins the race." Evil was an interesting character because he complained a lot and thought mostly about himself,if he was uncomfortable you knew it. Tod changed from a fearsome robber to a humane friend. He did that by promising to do the right things and not to steal. I found this book to be unique because the author used old words and an informational page at the beginning to explain the meanings of these words. When I was reading this book, I felt as if I had gone back in time to the year 1730, and the writing helped paint a picture in my mind of what was happening in the story.
I recommend this book because it is flowing with new vocabulary, and it is a very adventurous book. The type of person that would like to read this book would be a someone who likes adventure, bravery, daring, excitement, and books that put you on the front edge of your seat. This story might also interest readers because it has an interesting plot,cooperative characters, and the author has a unique style of writing. Read it for yourself,I think you will agree.