Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Kieran Larwood
Illustrator: David Wyatt
Publisher: Clarion Books
Podkin is a good-for-nothing son of a chief. While his older sister excels at learning, Podkin has no interest in his birthright as chieftain. Unfortunately, he is forced to grow up when his warren is attacked by the evil Gorm. The Gorm used to be rabbits, but now they are fused to iron and seek to destroy and rule over everything. Fleeing with his older sister, Paz, and infant brother, Pook, Podkin races to find safety away from their home. Podkin is entrusted with the magic knife of their clan, and must protect it at all costs from the Gorm. Losing his ear along the way, Podkin begins his journey that will one day make him the renowned hero.
This story is reminiscent of Brian Jacques’s Redwall and Richard Adams’s Watership Down. In the classic tradition, the protagonist must grow as a character in order to overcome the overwhelming evil that terrorizes the good people of the story. Beautifully written, Podkin One-Ear is an immersive experience for the reader that invokes the culture of the rabbits in the story and the dangers they face. With an extensive history included, the narrator, a traveling bard, occasionally breaks from the story to talk to his listeners and include background and insights. While this story has no major resolution to the main antagonists, Kieran Larwood has begun an intriguing series that will rank in the classics of its genre.
*Contains mild violence