Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now. A foraging wild creature, intent above all upon survival, is as strong as the grass."
An epic odyssey set amid the rolling English downs, Watership Down, is in every sense a big novel, large in size, large in ambition and large in scope. One of its remarkable achievements is the structuring of a civilisation with language, faith, politics and social factors converging to create a convincing world for Hazel, Fiver and the rabbits of the Warren.
The story begins as Fiver, a diminutive and unassuming figure in the Warren has a vision about the destruction of their hom and habitat. This begins a mass exodus to establish a new home, community and way of life. The change causes a split among the rabbits between those that believe his vision and so decide to leave the safe haven of their warren and those who do not chosing to stay.
A quest begins with Fiver, his brother Hazel and comrades setting out as pioneers to begin a new community. Along the way are various false starts as the crew become ensnared in groups that face their own share of strife and struggles. Eventually settling, the rabbits find they have no does and so their future is in jeopardy. They must endeavour to find does to secure the future of their new civilisation, but they find themselves pitted against another group.