The BBBC: Watership Down

So, about those rabbits.

I know many of you thought you would never read a fantasy fiction novel involving rabbits. I hope you enjoyed this adventure with Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Captain Holly, evil General Woundwort, and the rest of the warren rabbits.

I like to imagine that animals have their own intricate societies and forms of communication. In a way they do, this author takes it much further though. I was swept up in their journey from their home warren, their adventures and discoveries, forming a new home on Watership Down and their trouble with Efrafa.

Hazel was a rabbit of vision, but at times his pride got in the way. By appreciating the talents and skills of other rabbits he made an excellent Chief Rabbit. By thinking outside of the box and helping first the mouse and then Kehaar, he forged friendships between species and helpful alliances. I liked the fact that Hazel was willing to learn, to try to do things rabbits had not done before, and enlist help when needed.

Even though this book is fiction, the author does use facts about the lifestyle and habits of rabbits(heehee, I could not resist a rhyme) from the book The Private Life of a Rabbit. I found it interesting that through most of their adventures it was the constant state of fear, not so much the physical exertion, that tired them out. Fear can become so overwhelming they become paralyzed by it and "go tharn". Hmmm...does this relate to humans too?

There are parallels between animal and human behavior which were interesting. One quote stands out, "Animals don't behave like men. If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality." Bigwig, relating what Strawberry had tried to explain to General Woundwort. Let me just say, Efrafa is not the place for me. Shiver.

In all honesty, I skimmed the chapters about El-ahrairah, I could not really appreciate them. To me, the story would have been fine without them.

So, what did you think of Watership Down? In which warren would you fit best, Cowslip's, Watership Down, or Efrafa? Did you have a favorite rabbit? If I were a rabbit, I'd say Watership Down, would be ideal for me. No Efrafa, no way. Hazel is my favorite rabbit, but I admire Blackberry's cleverness, Fiver's sensitivity, Bigwig's strength and Pipkin's spirit.

Now it's your turn. Let's start the discussion. Anyone for lettuce?


  1. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. In fact, I am going to read it aloud to my children this summer after my daughter's 3rd grade teacher recommended that. I think showing them the differences in the warrens will help us to build the kind of warren here in our home that we desire, more like Watership Down than any of the others.

    Good point about pride with Hazel. Interesting way that we each need to check ourselves as leaders no matter how we came to be in that position.

    I think I agree with you about the chapters with El-ahrairah. I did read these stories, but I am still searching for their higher meaning. Obviously there is some symbolism but I am just taking it at face value for now.

    Thanks for the discussion.

  2. Just saw that you are reading The Woman in White. Do you like it? I really enjoyed it! Would be a good choice for a BBBC in the future!

  3. TJ: I started The Woman in White, but put it aside for a bit. I need to get back into it. I like it so far.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed Watership Down and plan to read it aloud to your daughter. I think many comparisons can be drawn between animal and human behavior. I like your idea about creating an ideal warren for your family.

  4. Hey there.. I have to be honest and say that I totally did not stay along with you on this month's read. I got the book, started it and just could not keep interested. It might have been because I am really busy right now and have had lots of people so my ready was few and far between, or because it is not really my style of book I am not sure... but I will give your next pick a try again for sure.

  5. No worries Aranne! I hope that the next selection is a better *fit*--and that things settle down for you to escape with a good read.

  6. You can read the full report here:


    But I really did like the book, after some initial trepidation. Can't wait for next month. I will start earlier this time!

  7. I did not read along this time. when I read it aloud to my kids a few years ago we all enjoyed most of it, though there are parts we could have done w/o. The hardest part for us was right before the last chapter, my son's rabbit died. so we waited a week or so til we finished the book. even then it was hard to read...

    overall, we enjoyed this story. I really like the parallel to our own homes...

  8. I was very pleasantly surprised by the book. I thought the story was well told and I found myself liking most of the characters.


I'd love to hear what you have to say. I try to reply to comments and answer questions within each post so be sure to check back from time to time. Thanks for visiting!

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