Friday, January 28, 2011

Redwall by Brian Jacques

This book is the first in a very long series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Redwall is a fortress run by mice, and its purpose is to help needy creatures. They believe in peace and caring, although the legendary Martin the Warrior fought an enemy many years before. A beautiful tapestry on the castle wall honors his memory. However, Cluny the Scurge and his army of ruthless rats now plan to attack Redwall. Matthias views himself as the new protector of Redwall, and discoveries are made that link him to Martin. Matthias knows he must find Martin's sword in order to save Redwall. He helps to battle Cluny's army, has confrontations with attacking sparrows, a cat, an owl, and eventually a poisonous snake. Cluny is relentless in his attacks on Redwall, and Matthias is its final hope.

This series was very popular among students just a few years ago, so I'm happy to reintroduce it to current readers. All of the characters are animals, which I'm okay with. I also enjoy the idea of the weak defeating the powerful. I liked how the author introduced the main conflict, Cluny's attack on Redwall, very early in the plot but added more conflicts as Matthias tried to learn about Martin the Warrior to find his shield and sword. Cluny made repeated attempts to enter the fortress, so the plot didn't depend on one big battle. The sub-conflicts kept the plot fresh, while I knew there would eventually be a showdown between Matthias and Cluny. There's a great deal of action and suspense, so that should hold the interest of most readers. Many students have found it difficult to understand the moles, and some of the characters had trouble too. One of the characters comments that she can understand about every third word they say, and that was enough for me to get the gist of what they meant. It's a great book.

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