REVIEW OF: Watership Down by Richard Adams

REVIEWimageED BY: Rachel

“Here comes Peter Cotton Tail hopping down the bunny trail…” then, BOOM!  Here comes General Woundwart, with a thirst for blood and vengeance.  In Richard Adams’ Watership Down, rabbits are doing everything but peacefully hopping down a bunny trail.  Fiver, a rabbit who just may end up being the savior of his warren, had been having terrifying visions that display his warren and his family being demolished.  Fiver’s brother, Hazel, is very trusting and devoted to his younger brother, so off they go into the woods, with all of the rabbits they could persuade to come with them, hoping to avoid sudden death. Hazel, the leader of the pack, leads them very well as they trek through the forest, scattering at any sudden movement for fear of the unknown.  The group encounters some predicaments: savage rabbits, hungry predators, even some murderous humans. After many close-calls, the travelers finally find a place to settle down and start their own warren. Suddenly, they come to the realization that they have a huge problem: they don’t have any does. Without does, or female rabbits, their warren will not be able to thrive, for there would be no way to breed and mate. The rabbit leaders devise a plan to invite some does back to their home from a neighboring warren, but their neighbors aren’t terribly friendly. You see, any rabbit who enters the other warren is not allowed to leave, so getting does out of it proves to be more difficult than expected, especially with a very powerful Chief Rabbit, General Woundwart, standing in their way. Strong-minded and unwelcoming to outsiders, General Woundwart proves to be a roadblock the rabbits are unable to avoid, so with Hazel’s group’s wits and General Woundwart’s strength, the outcome of this war could be very different than expected.

Watership Down is definitely not just for the animal-loving type; no, it is for any reader who loves a good, classic adventure novel.  Sure, the whole book is about rabbits, but the action and adventure absolutely makes the story for anyone. I enjoyed the novel for many reasons. I especially liked the humor throughout the book. I loved how ignorant the rabbits were to man-made inventions and even the stories that made up their own mythology on how they “came to be.” I also enjoyed the character development. For instance, at the beginning of the book, Hazel just wanted to save his own skin and get out of harm’s way, but, by the end of the story, he became the leader the rabbits needed to survive. Overall, Watership Down is a very enjoyable and lively book to just sit down and read.

I definitely recommend this novel, for I feel that many kids and even adults from ages 11 and up would enjoy it. The topic of the rabbits going on this great adventure in the woods is perfect for children, but the novel is long and I would’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t ready to read an almost five-hundred page book.  Also, although the novel is action-packed, it can kind of a drag at some points, but if you pull through the slow parts, you will no doubt be rewarded later.  Watership Down is a great book for almost any stage in your life, and I hope that if you read it, you will enjoy it as much as I did.