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*****= An all-time favorite
by Richard Adams
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#2, Fiction Rereads)
Avon Books, 1972. 478 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F ADA)
My husband just finished reading Watership Down at bedtimes to our family. Even though technically it is an adult book, this one truly is enjoyable for all ages.
Watership Down is not exactly fantasy, since there is no magic, unless you count Fiver’s mysterious ability to prophesy. It’s usually placed in the category of fantasy because it tells the story of a group of rabbits. Richard Adams invented an entire language, folklore and lifestyle for rabbits, based, of course, on what we know about real ones.
In scope, this book is one of the great saga quests. We soon forget that the characters are “only” rabbits. When his brother Fiver warns that destruction is coming to their warren, Hazel takes Fiver and a few other rabbits away. They look for a place to start a new warren, braving dangers along the way. Once they find the perfect spot, they still need to get some does, or their warren will die out.
The story is a wonderful adventure, peppered by stories of El-ahrairah, the legendary rabbit hero, who inspires our heroes. Before the book is over, Hazel and company exhibit the cleverness of El-ahrairah himself. Watership Down makes a great family story because it has a little of everything: adventure, suspense, cleverness and humor.
Again, I have to thank my friend Kathe for giving me this book on August 1st, 1979. Now our whole family has shared the book and agree with her inscription: “Hazel lives on!”
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.