We recently bought The Highway Rat and both my 4 and 7 year olds liked it. The illustrations are so detailed and interesting, the story is fun, and We love the rhyming verse.
If we could only pick one Donaldson/ Scheffler book it would be Snail and the Whale which I find just magical, followed by the Spiffiest Giant in Town, Stick Man, The Gruffalo, Room on a Broom, and then the Highway Rat tied with A Squash and a Squeeze.
All these books rise so far above the average children's books - they're captivating! Ranking several of the Julia Donaldson books above The Highway Rat is a reflection of the many top-notch children's books this author has written, not a diss of this book. Highly recommend them all!!!
There are also many good Julia Donalson books that she wrote using different illustrators; the all time best of these is Tyranasaurus Drip.