What’s it all about?:
This stirring tale of courage and survival against the odds has become one of the best-loved animal adventures of all time.
‘We’ve got to go away before it’s too late.’
Fiver was only a small rabbit, but he had a sixth sense and foresaw that disaster was about to destroy the warren. Few believed him. Led by his brother Hazel, a small band of rabbits set out on a perilous journey to find a safe home. Fiver’s intuition finally leads them to Watership Down. But here they encounter the greatest threat of all.
What did I think?:
I’ve had a hard copy of Watership Down on my shelves for so long and when Chrissi I and were picking the Kid-Lit choices for this year, it seemed a perfect opportunity to add it. I’ve been really excited to read it, I remember absolutely loving the film as a child and we even had a record of the track Bright Eyes which never failed to make me cry but funnily enough, I don’t remember reading the book. The story covers a small warren of rabbits who leave their larger burrows after one of the smaller rabbits, Fiver, has a premonition that it would be dangerous to stay. His brother Hazel has no qualms about standing with him as Fiver’s premonitions have had a sneaky way of coming true in the past and along with a small group of other rabbits, decide to leave the area and move towards a delightful place on the hills known as Watership Down.
Hazel proves himself a fantastic leader as they start off on their perilous journey which has many dangers for the group of rabbits the largest of all being another group of rabbits whom they stay with for a while. Fiver once again has a terrible feeling about the place but is consoled by his friends that he has nothing to fear. Guess what? Once again, Fiver is proved right and the rabbits manage to escape, barely with their lives. When they finally reach Watership Down they feel their worries may all be over and they can relax for the rest of their lives doing just what rabbits do. Although they can’t er… do what rabbits do if they don’t bring some does into the burrow. Once again, they journey to another burrow which is said to be overcrowded to see if they can’t persuade some of the does in that burrow to join theirs. This is when they face one of the biggest dangers of their lives and one from which they might not all escape from.
First of all, I’m really glad I finally read this book. I have to admit to being slightly disappointed at the beginning, it seemed to take a long while before the story kicked off and I think I was a good 150 pages in before I could say that I was truthfully enjoying it. Saying that, once I was invested in the story I was really invested. I loved the rabbits (with a soft spot for little Fiver and the brave Bigwig), I loved their journey and what they faced to make a happy warren and I think as an adventure story its up there with some of the most exciting despite a slow start. I think it might be a story for older children as I worry the beginning wouldn’t engage younger readers but I do still think it has a place in children’s literature today. It’s got everything you would want from a story – heroic rabbits, a dastardly villain in the form of General Woundwort, helpful animal friends like the bird Kehaar (who I also found hilarious) sad moments where I could feel myself tearing up and a triumphant, bitter-sweet ending. It’s a book I’ll be glad to hold on to and will enjoy giving to my children one day.
For Chrissi’s fabulous review please see her blog HERE
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
Aagh, forgot about the scary parts!!