WATERSHIP DOWNBY RICHARD ADAMS
I have loved this novel ever since I was assigned to read it in high school. In all the times I’ve read it since then, it has not disappointed, the hallmark of a great book. Filled with action and adventure, it’s about a group of young male rabbits who, led by Hazel, leave their home and make a perilous journey to Watership Down to start their own warren. Their troubles don’t stop once they’ve arrived. The only way the new warren can grow is for them to find female rabbits. That results in a vicious battle with another warren on Watership Down.
Hazel is one of my favorite heroes. He’s courageous, compassionate, and smart. He uses the various talents of different rabbits to accomplish a goal. His leadership earns him the suffix “rah” added to his name, which denotes a chief rabbit. Nevertheless, Hazel-rah is not infallible. When he goes against the advice of his prophetic brother, his deed cripples him, just as the warren faces its greatest threat.
The book has some lengthy descriptions, but Adams does an amazing job of creating the rabbit world, including their own terminology and folk hero. The novel was so real that I was shocked to learn it was classified as a fantasy. After all, it is about rabbits. I highly recommend it.