Watership Down (graphic novel) – book review

Watership Down
Graphic novel adaptation
by Richard Adams, James Sturm, Joe Sutphin
Fantasy (because, talking rabbits)
Graphic Novel
* * * * Stars (Great!)

This is an excellent graphic novel adaptation of Richard Adams’ book, “Watership Down.” It captures the personalities of the rabbits and the urgency of their perilous quest to find a new, safe home to call their own, when developers destroy their old home. Adams created a wonderful world, mythology, and language for rabbits that is completely believable and compelling.

My brother and I were obsessed with the old, animated “Watership Down” movie (1978), which is rather dark, when we were kids. I listened to the audiobook edition of the novel not too long ago (also wonderful) with my pet rabbits (though, I couldn’t tell what they thought of it – it made me cry!). Fair warning: This is not a gentle or cute bunny story. None of the versions are. There’s rabbit on rabbit violence, because rabbits have classes and issues with authoritarian rabbit governments. They have a host of problems within their own society, compounded by those presented by people and predators. In “Watership Down” there are rabbits who have visions of the future and they are terrible, because humans are not kind to rabbits – they see them as food or vermin or test subjects. Some kinder folks see them as lovable pets (rabbits are the third most popular house pet after dogs and cats). They exist in a weird space where all of these ideas about them are true. Recommended for high school teens and adults.

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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