Road to Ratenburg

Book Author & Illustrator Joy Cowley & Gavin Bishop
Rights Available World excl. World English
Rights sold Simplified Chinese, Turkish

A charming ratty fable about family by a much-loved writer and illustrator pair.

A family of rats is forced to leave their home, so sets out to find the fabled city of Ratenburg. Along the way they outwit vicious dogs, tricky rat traps, and sharp-beaked hawks, and make some very dangerous crossings. The rat family’s adventures test their character and grow bonds between sisters and brothers, family friends, mum and dad. Narrating the tale is Spinnaker Rat, an Edwardian-style father, full of wisdom about the ways of the world, who finds himself learning more than he expected. This accessible story nods to international successes like The Tale of Despereaux but with its own distinctive voice and characters.

About the Author

Joy Cowley is one of New Zealand’s best-loved writers for children and adults, with an international reputation. She has won a multitude of awards and honours for her bestselling books, including the Prime Minister’s Award for contribution to literature. She was shortlisted for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2018.

Gavin Bishop ONZM, Tainui, Ngāti Awa, is a leading New Zealand illustrator. He has published over 70 books internationally and been translated into 12 languages. He has written for television and theatre, as well as a libretti for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. His awards include New Zealand Children’s Picture Book of the Year in 1982, 1994, 2000 and 2013. In 2019, he was named the winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Non Fiction.


Gecko Press


198 × 129 mm



Junior Fiction

Age range
8-10 years

Publication date
March 2016

Rights Available:
World excl. World English

Rights Sold: 
Simplified Chinese, Turkish

Rights Agents:


Anja Mundt, Mundt Agency

China & Taiwan
ShuHuai (China)
Sushin (Taiwan)

Ayşenur Müslümanoğlu, AnatoliaLit

Contact Gecko Press about this book

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hilarious, inventive, funny and poignant.

Kate De Goldi, Radio New Zealand National (NZ)

The Road to Ratenburg is a refreshing read filled with delicious descriptions and an ending that gives a pleasant and important message.

In Need of a Read (UK)