Book Cover
Title Watership Down
Author Richard Adams
Cover Art Pauline Baynes
Publisher Penguin - 1975
First Printing 1972
Book Cover
Title Tales From Watership Down
Author Richard Adams
Cover Art Arthur Fitzwillian Tait
Publisher Vintage Books - 1996
First Printing Vintage Books - 1996
Book Cover
Title The Watership Down Film Picture Book
Author Richard Adams
Cover Art
Publisher Macmillan Publishers - 1978
First Printing Macmillan Publishers - 1978
Book Cover
Title Pipkin's Rainbow
Author Richard Adams & Dianne Redmond
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Category Anthropomorphic
Warnings None
Main Characters Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Blackberry, Silver, Dandelion, Pipkin, Acorn, Speedwell, Holly, Blueberry, Strawberry, Hyzenthlay, Blackavar, General Woundwort, Campion, Keehar
Main Elements Anthropomorphism
Website ---

Click to read the summaryWatership Down

Click to read the summaryTales From Watership Down

Click to read the summaryThe Watership Down Picture Book

It is very strange writing this. For whatever reason, I decided to reread Watership Down this year. And then, I followed it up with a first time read of Tales from Watership Down. The day after I finished reading it, I found out that Richard Adams passed away.

How does one go about writing a review for a classic like Watership Down. A beautiful, magical tale of a group of rabbits and their adventures as they seek out a new home. They must deal with men, elil (predators), and even other rabbits. Each rabbits has his own strenghts and weaknesses that he lends to the group. Fiver, which his unusual ability to sense the future, the one who knew they must leave their old warren before it is destroyed. Hazel, their unflappable leader. Bigwig, strong and loyal. Blackberry, smart and ingenious. And of course all the others. In fact those of you familiar more with the movie, there are a few more rabbits than you will recognize, such as Acorn and Speedwell.

There are many things the same with the movie, but some significant differences as well, it is too long a book to fit into a single movie. You will hear many more stories of El-ahrairah, the legendary first rabbit and favorite (and pain in the backside) of Lord Firth, their sun god. But both expose us to rabbit culture and even language, which become second nature to the reader very quickly. Words like Elil (predators), Hrududu (cars, tractors), Hrair (more than four, four being the highest number a rabbit can count). Hrair reminded me of how well Adams convinces the readers that these are in fact rabbits, they don't think or act like humans.

It is truly a classic and for anyone who is a fan of fantasy, a must read. Once might dismiss it as simply a children's book but it is anything but. In fact, as I watch the movie now I wonder how my parents let me watch it, what with rabbits ripping each other to piece, blood and froth spraying everywhere, death at every corner.

Tales of Watership Down wasn't quite what I was hoping for. The first two thirds comprised rabbit stories and legends, which are fun but I was hoping for more of what happened to Hazel and the others after they settled Watership Down, which was only in the last third. But still, it was a treat to be able to have just that little bit more. A couple of the stories also kind of hit you over the head with the how evil humans are, blindly killing rabbits, though in other stories the rabbits point out if they destroy human livelihood of course they should expect retaliation. But overhall, I enjoyed it. After all it was nearly 20 years after the book was first published before Adams returned to Watership.

I don't know where I got the film picture book from, must have inherited it from my older brother. It contains stills of the movie with text to go with each one. It's a nice addition to the collection...and as I research this review a bit, I discover there was a Watership Down TV series!

My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today.
Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed
Richard Adams may run no more but Hazel and the others shall continue.

Posted: December 2016


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