Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood

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Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood

Buy Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Judy Davies
Reviewed by Judy Davies
Summary: Podkin One Ear is a lovely book for both young children and older readers. It's a fast-moving adventure with a fierce battle against sinister foes, and there's a brilliant twist at the end. With lovable rabbit heroes, dark and scary enemies and a little hint of rabbit magic along the way, this is a really entrancing book for children.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Faber & Faber
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780571328406

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This lovely tale of a small rabbit hero begins in a time of peace and contentment for the rabbit kingdom. In the cold and snowy days leading up to the mid-winter holiday, an old Bard visits Thornwood Burrow to entertain the rabbits around a roaring fire. The Bard tells a gripping tale from the past, about Podkin, the son of a rabbit chieftain. When a dark and frightening power, known as the Gorm, rises up in the rabbit world, Podkin and his sister and brother are forced to leave their burrow and run for their lives. The story follows their journey and their attempt to defeat the Gorm and restore peace and safety to the rabbit communities across the land.

The rabbit world is beautifully described by Larwood, who paints a cosy, comfortable and civilised picture of the Thornwood Burrow within the first few paragraphs of the book. I felt that I could quite easily step into that world and feel part of it immediately. I love the idea of a travelling storyteller who is skilled at his job, teaching the younger rabbits about their past but also telling a scary and gripping tale that everyone enjoys.

Podkin One-Ear is a brilliant main character and I am sure every child will love his kind and sensitive ways, his bravery and his trust in others. He starts out as a lazy schoolboy trying to skip his lessons but turns into a resourceful leader who one day might become a Chieftain like his father. The novel also has some excellent baddies. The Gorm are a frightening bunch of thugs who want to take over the rabbit world and crush all before them. They are graphically described and send chilling shivers throughout the tale. The reader is propelled right into the centre of the action and I was certainly willing the heroes to find a place of safety and be victorious.

The writing is peppered with some lovely black and white drawings. The illustrations are beautifully intricate, my only complaint being there weren't enough of them! I also loved the map at the front of the book allowing me to plot the young rabbits' journey as they flee the Gorm through the snow.

I like the way Larwood allows the reader to see our own civilisation reflected in the rabbit world. The rabbits are mainly depicted as humans would be within the tale. Somehow though I would have liked the story to have been a bit more rabbity with maybe a few more rabbit characteristics and quirks. The novel has a great ending but there are some conundrums which are left unanswered and I am sure a second book will reveal more of the legend of Podkin One-Ear. I for one will delight in coming across the Bard again to hear him recount another tale by the fireside. I think this is a brilliant book for children and would be especially great if read aloud just as the Bard told it.

Fans of The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien will delight in this tale. As will lovers of Richard Adams's Watership Down. We also appreciated Chinese Calendar Tales: The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit by Sarah Brennan and Harry Harrison. You might also enjoy Larwood's The Gift of Dark Hollow.

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Buy Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood at Amazon.com.


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