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- author Jackie French

Monday 21 October 2013

Children's Week: Review: Redwall

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

Redwall Abbey is a fortress for the animals in Mossflower Woods. It is manned by caring and generous animals, led by the Father Abbot, and has enough food and shelter for everyone who needs it! It is a place of peace, though some of its inhabitants know how to use weapons, to defend the Abbey. It is a gigantic place, able to fit 500 hares, a Badger Lord, and about 1-2 hundred other Abbey-inhabitants ranging from field mice to moles to otters to badgers.

Matthias lives in Redwall Abbey. He’s a young, kind, mouse who is good friends with the Father Abbot of Redwall. Some friends of his include Constance Badgermum, “mother” and caretaker of all of the Dibbuns (babes, infants, toddlers, etc. – all-around youngsters), Friar Hugo, the fat dormouse who happens to be abbeycook, Foremole, the leader of all of the moles in Redwall, Skipper of Otters, the tough and smart leader of the otters at Redwall, and old Methuseleh, the recorder mouse of Redwall.

When a family of mice run to Redwall Abbey with terrible news of a great army of vermin, (ferrets, stoats, weasels, foxes, rats, etc.) led by Cluny the Scourge, attacking the kind folks of Mossflower Woods with the goal of reaching Redwall, Matthias realizes he has something to do – save the Abbey! He decides to find the sword and shield of Martin, the first Warrior of Redwall. Martin was the greatest warrior Redwall has even known. His sword and shield have been hidden for many years because Redwall has been at peace.

With the help of Methuseleh, Matthias finds the place where the shield is. Then the two friends figure out where the sword of Martin should be, but it’s not there! Matthias goes on a quest to find the sword, because with the sword of Matin, he knows he can save Redwall! To find the sword he must journey outside the Abbey and into the Woods that are now crawling with vermin. Along his journey he meets new friends and terrible enemies. Will he find the sword and return to Redwall before it is too late?

I have read a lot of books and the Redwall series is my favorite. If you are not familiar with the Redwall series you should give it a try. There are 23 books in the series (and one cookbook which is very fun to have because you get to make the meals the inhabitants of Redwall Abbey make at their feasts). I have read nearly all the books in the series and I’ve found you don’t have to read them in order. For example, I read “The Rogue Crew,” the last book in the series, released just after Mr. Jacques died in 2011, after Book 3 in the series, “Mattimeo,” and the stories still made sense.

The Redwall books give great descriptions about the places and the animals in the stories. I read on Mr. Jacques official website that he wrote the original Redwall book for children at a school for the blind in Liverpool, England (where he was from) and that he made the descriptions of the story so real so the blind children could “see” the story.  I know he made Redwall seem real to me.

The characters in the books are ones that you care about. I love how the different books tell different parts to the whole story. Some of the villains are kind of scary and pretty evil. Some of the animals die, and not only the bad guys, and that might make some kids scared. If you want to get lost in a great adventure with true heroes and horrible villains, I recommend Redwall!

- This review by Erik, aged 11, who runs his own book review blog at This Kid Reviews Books. We stumbled across Erik's amazing blog and were blown away by his passion for books and reading. We love his philosophy of offering 'a place for kids and grown-ups to discover books'.

KBR note: Book details below are from Random House Australia for the 20th anniversary edition of Redwall re-issued with a new cover design in 2006.

Title: Redwall (Redwall series)
Author: Brian Jacques
Publisher: Red Fox, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date: 2/10/2006
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781862301382
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Fiction