Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Kieran Larwood
Illustrator: David Wyatt
Publisher: Clarion Books
On Bramblemas eve, the Gorm (metallically-fuse rabbits) invade Munbury Warren sending Paz, Podkin, and Pook fleeing through a terrifying night to seek sanctuary. Sick and nearly frozen to death, they find an ancient witch who welcomes them into her well-hidden home. The little rabbits recover, but the old woman begins to run short of provisions. They bravely set off again to a place where Gorm-driven rabbits live and trade with each other. Here they discover that the Gorm are not the only rabbits that they need to fear. They are enslaved and to escape, Podkin begins to use his head and heart. They escape, and while scavenging they learn of a Gorm camp nearby. Podkin and Paz believe that their mother and aunt may be captive in the camp. Using all of their acquired friends and weapons, Podkin finds the courage and strength to face Scramashank and avenge his father.
This is a wonderful story about a ne'er-do-well young rabbit who finds himself unprepared when the moment for greatness and courage arrive. Caught in an epic battle, the three little rabbits must rely on each other and on themselves and grow up very quickly. The action is a driving force through the story and maintains the momentum straight through to the end. The characters are not especially novel, but each remains true to their part in the story and true to each other. The fantasy elements create a viable, believable world with varying levels of good and evil found as the children tumble their way through each adventure. Podkin's personal growth is steady and integrated into the other characters and events in the tale. The story is emotion-evoking. Feelings of betrayal, fear, exhaustion, hope, courage all play out and run through the empathetic reader's heart. This is a great book for boys and girls, lovers of fantasy, and those who believe that good is stronger than the greatest evil.
*Contains mild violence.