WIJFR: Redwall

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Matthias, a mouse of Redwall Abbey, is in trouble, as are the rest of the mice. When Cluny the Scourge attacks Redwall with his horde, Matthias goes on a quest to retrieve the sword of Martin the Warrior, which he believes will give victory over the evil vermin.

My daughter and I just finished reading Brian Jacques’ “Redwall.” the first book in his 20-year old Redwall series. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy as a child so I’m not quite sure how I never came across this saga until now. I think I heard about it mentioned casually on a podcast a few months ago and thought, now that my daughter had finished the Harry Potter books, it sounded like a good series to challenge her with (she’s in first grade) and something we could read and enjoy together. So we spent the past month reading a few pags a night …

All of the characters in “Redwall” are animals: mice, moles, badgers, rabbits, and other woodland creatures are the good guys, and the bad guys are the rats, weasels, ferrets, stoats, snakes, foxes, etc. You can see how the good/evil theme moves on from there. The mice are peaceful and share the bounty of the land with their fellow creatures at Redwall Abbey. The rats, led by Cluny the Scourge, are power-hungry and want to pillage, plunder, and loot. To save the abbey and his friends, Matthias must go on a quest to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior, the previous champion defender of Redwall.

It was a relatively easy read: some of the chapters were just a few pages, which made for a nice quick skim before bedtime. There are a lot of “dark” subjects though, particularly murder, that I was a little concerned about reading with a 7-year old. Like I mentioned though, she’s read all the Harry Potter books so she’s been exposed to those topics before. I did learn, though, to not necessarily end the bedtime reading on a Cluny chapter.

Since we had so much fun reading the first one, I’ve already ordered the next four in the series. We’ve got our daddy/daughter reading material set for the summer. Next up, “Mossflower.” Want to know more? Check out the Redwall Wiki.

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