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Watership Down

Good ReadsDeane Watters3 Comments

If for some reason you or I decided we needed to move from our home, we would do a bit of research before actually leaving. We would tour a variety houses, investigate the schools, locate the closest hospital and check out the nearest grocery stores. Planning ahead to know where we were going would ensure a safe and smooth transition.

But rabbits are not able to plan ahead in this way! They don't have phones to call ahead or arrange tours of all available burrows in any nearby warren. So when Fiver, brother of Hazel, felt a terrifying premonition that something horrible was going to happen to their present warren, they had to just head out with little or no preparation. The Chief Rabbit deemed it to be trivial nonsense and would not call for everyone in the whole warren to escape the coming so-called doom.

So the brothers, Hazel and Fiver, made plans to leave. Hazel spoke to Bigwig, "Fiver and I will be leaving the warren tonight," he said deliberately. "I don't know exactly where we shall go, but we'll take anyone who's ready to come with us."  The plan was to leave fu Inle ( Lapine for: after moonrise).  A third rabbit, Pipkin, a friend of Fiver's decided to join them. In the dim moonlit night the three quietly waited and eventually collected others who desired to live elsewhere. This small band of rabbit brothers, Bigwig, Hawkbit, Dandelion, Blackberry, Buckthorn, Speedwell, Acorn and Silver, began their journey into the unknown in search of a new home with the hope of a bright future.

Richard Adams, the author of this lively tale, insists this is NOT a children's book. In fact the seven publishers and several literary agents rejected his submission on the grounds that, "Older children wouldn't like it because it is about rabbits, which they consider babyish; and younger children wouldn't like it because it is written in an adult style." But Adams persevered and eventually he found someone to take a chance on his book. It was a great hit and since that time, "the book has never been out of print and has been published in many translations throughout the world." A worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, this has become a timeless classic.

Personally, I loved this book! There were times when I couldn't put it down as the gripping action compelled me to stay with it. With no idea how the story would end, and with such dangers as  predators and other rabbits threatening them along the way, the outcome was unpredictable. Even the length of 476 pages did not put me off! I grew to truly care about the characters and was sad when the tale ended. There are some gruesome fights and descriptions of true rabbit dangers that led me to respect the life of the quiet unassuming bucks and does we see in the wild.

I would never leave my home without preplanning, but the lack of planning is just what made this an outstanding adventure tale certainly worth reading.

(We talked about this book in my Kid Lit Book Club and Olivia made a rabbit warren for us to eat as a snack after our lively discussion. The sprigs of mint added flavor to the tea we sipped while eating the (Oreo) dirt.)