Podkin One-Ear is a legend: a fearsome warrior rabbit whose reputation for cunning and triumph in battle has travelled the ages. But how did he become such a mighty fighter? The answer may surprise you… When a travelling bard arrives at Thornwood Warren on Midwinter night, he is warmly welcomed. In return for food and lodging, he settles down to tell of how Podkin One-Ear – and soon the rabbits are enthralled to hear the story of how one lost little rabbit overcame the cruellest enemy imaginable, and became the greatest warrior their land has ever known
Since my daughter has reached an age where she has more interest in chapter books I am constantly on the hunt for books that might interest her (and me, not gonna lie). This one caught my eye and I couldn’t be more pleased! What a great book!
This book is as if Watership Down meets Redwall meets The Hobbit. We follow a bard who approaches a warren on Bramblemas Eve, where he is invited to share a story around the fire; the story of Podkin One Ear. The framing of the story this way is nothing new, but I can’t deny that I always love the ‘stories within stories’ trope. The grumpy bard telling the ‘true story’ and the interludes that show the interactions as we go were so nicely done. The framing was one of my favourite parts of this book. And the ending! The reveal at the end went a little over my daughter’s head but she’s only just turned 5, so fair enough. Rereads are definitely in order in the future!
The story has everything I could have wanted from a middle grade book. Loveable characters, action, suspense, and important themes such as family, courage, and nature vs technology. What I really loved from the get go was how well developed the lore and back story is for a children’s book. The world the author has created is really well thought out, and I can’t want to learn more about the mythology he has created for this story.
The characters all come alive. Podkin, Paz and Pook are a delight to follow as the constantly run from the danger that follows them. The Gorm as also a well developed and interesting enemy. The whole idea of anti-industrialisation is always a theme I love to see. The idea of rabbits getting poisoned by metal was an interesting one, with just the right amount of darkness for the intended age range of this story. I can’t wait to learn more about the Gorm in later books.
Overall, my daughter and I loved this book. An exciting and enchanting tale with a whole lot of heart. Podkin, Paz and Pook are now sitting alongside Hazel and Fiver as some of my favourite long-eared characters. It reads as sort of an opening to a wider story, so we are super keen to get to book two. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great fantasy read to share with their family, or even for adults to enjoy. My daughter loved it, and never wanted me to put it down when bedtime rolled around, so it’s a clear thumbs up from her too.