Kid reviews for Watership Down

Watership Down Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 11+

Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 45 reviews

age 10+

amazing

I don't find many books i like, but this is a book i love. When i start reading it I don't want to put it down. Most kids my age probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as me, but when i started reading i could not stop, it remains one of my favorite books.

This title has:

Educational value
age 10+

Good book but a little violent

I first read this book as a six-years-old obsessed with rabbits and I was not ready. It wasn't so much the language--although that was a little sophisticated--but the violence. It was absolutely terrifying. At that age I was unreasonably scared by books and movies, so I'm sure some kids younger than ten are ready for Watership Down. One must therefore take care to make judgment as to their child's readiness for the book on the individual needs and personality of that aforementioned child.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
age 10+

Really interesting

I have not finished the book yet, so I am going off of what I have read so far. Personally I think it's very violent (but I haven't got to that part yet) and only for kids that are mature and can handle things like that. I havent heard anyone else say this, but if you or your child owns a rabbit, this story will most likely make you worry about them. When I read this I am constantly thinking about the safety of my rabbit. I think at some points it is slightly streched out, a lot like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which I read recently. Overall, a very good adventuure story (so far) however can be violent and scary for younger children.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Not as dark as you think

Okay, so I know when everyone hears "Watership down" they immediately think dark and sad and other negative things, but please please please just hear me out because the truth is not like this. I read the book aged 10 and I absolutely adored it. It was written like poetry, the words were so beautiful, and the rabbits had their own myths and legends and I loved listening to the clever tales. They say Watership down was meant to be an adults book, but the writer actually made up the whole story to entertain his two young daughters during a long car ride, and it was his daughters who convinced him to get it published! So the whole story is about Fiver, a runt, having a sixth-sense and leading a small group of rabbits who believe him away from the Warren and out to seek a better one. So it's an adventure novel!! You follow their journey through the hills and the rivers a d listen to their stories and how the rabbits see their world. It's amazing. Of course their are some ups and downs-they get scared about being in the open and worried about predators for example. Now, for the part everyone thinks is dark. I am aware the movie is super scary and that I agree it is not at all suitable for children. But the book never has the scene were all the rabbits die in it. Yup, that's right, the scarring scene everyone remembers isn't even in the book! Instead, once the rabbits find a home, they come across another rabbit who tells them basically "our home was destroyed by humans" and that's it. For some reason the movie decided to animate that, and so watership down is forever and wrongly branded a dark book. Even if the dark part was in the book, I can think of so many kids books darker. Think of fairytales, people! Hansel and Gretel, two kids who get captured by a witch who's going to EAT them, so they shove her in an OVEN! Rapunzel, a girl trapped in a tower by a witch, someone pretending to be her mum! I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, a false mum was a very scary thought. So that's my review. Watership down is a beautiful book and I feel so sad whenever anyone thinks it's "horrible" because this one movie ruined it.
age 13+

Noteworthy Classic

I love this book so much. Content-wise, the book contains a lot of violence, but if you were a warrior cats kid, 12 and up I think is fine. Otherwise, 13 sounds appropriate. I read it around that age for the first time anyway, and was unbothered by the violence.. but the actual reading level might be hard to follow if you're not used to books this large. The book is pretty massive, and the text is tiny for context. For the time that it was written, the formal writing makes sense, but again, it could be jarring if you're not used to books like this. Onto the actual violence... Plenty of bunnies are being torn apart. Holly's ears get torn off for instance (we don't see it happen though, he just arrives beat up bloody), and there are multiple battles described in detail ranging from relative to in-depth. Especially Thlayli and Woundwort's towards the end of the book (two major characters, this was a kind of "final blow"), that one was wild. There is mention of a graphic sickness wild rabbits can contract through insects called myxomatosis (it affects European rabbits harshly, and that's the breed of rabbits present here if I'm not wrong). In the book, they call this the 'white blindness'. There isn't anything graphic actually described though, just a mention of the disease being awful. No one contracts it onscreen, it is just presented as yet another underlying threat next to all the other elements the rabbits battle. Most of the graphic content stems from the violence- rabbits are actually surprisingly violent animals, and I appreciate the book staying true to this, just be aware if you are sensitive to these aspects. Language-wise, I didn't catch anything at all explicit, just maybe a 'damn' or two. A rough summary: An outskirt rabbit called Hazel and his brother Fiver are treated like outsiders in their own warren. When Fiver has a prophetic vision that something awful will happen to the warren, the brothers decide to gather up as many rabbits willing to leave with them as they can and make a journey to a place Fiver forsees is fit to be their new home. Much violence and exposure to the elements ensues until the rabbits arrive at their destination and settle down into the new warren. No does (female rabbits) decided to come with them, so the problem of keeping the warren's future generations alive becomes present and turns out to be a major plotline as the bucks go searching for other warrens with an abundance of does. They meet a gull called Kehaar and he kindly directs them to a nearby farm after scouting the area by sky. The raid on the farm is successful, reaping a number of new rabbits, but not as many as the opposing 17 original travelers would like. Another warren Kehaar finds seems to have too many female rabbits, so Hazel and the others decide to ask them if an exchange could be arranged. The warren, called Efrafa, turns out to be massive and incredibly violent and cruel to its residents, whom they treat more like prisoners. Hazel and his warren develop a goal to rescue the doe prisoners from the aggressive warren and disband the tumorous growth of Efrafa and their cruel way of living.. Efrafa and some other aspects of the book apparently has DNA in and were inspired by the second World War and its death camps. What I really adore about this book is how the characters are written- it's obvious they're animals. Unlike other animal books that are clearly more 'fantasy' and how they're more or less treated like people in animal bodies (which makes sense if you're trying to emphasize a message like, for example, gender equality- this debacle is a 'human thing', and it is more geared to mimic human morals; this isn't bad in the least! The aforementioned is just less common in animal stories with what I've seen) but here they're clearly written to be animals. Some could argue this gets in the way of positive role model material, which is fair. Hazel and his group interact with a group of female farm rabbits and speak about them as if they aren't 'fit for use' if they proved to be infertile, for example. I think this isn't a very fair standard to put a book like this to, because, well... animals behave like this! Animals choose mates based on ability to efficiently spread their genes, and if a partner were incapable of that, they wouldn't be fit to be mates. It just feels strange that it is specifically the female rabbits in the book who are given this treatment. Maybe this can count as sexual, but it depends on how you look at it. There isn't much detail in the mating mentions, what's onscreen is purely hypothetical and seems like it's more from a scientific lens. Other than this, the Efrafan doe alliance is great on this agenda. Hyzenthlay is perfect and she is a very good leader for her band of rebels- she's treated like a heroine, which I love. Hazel and his group are heroic and kind, Thlayli's battle with instinct and brain is thrilling, and this book's overall messages about leadership, intelligence, and belonging are fantastic. Outstanding.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
age 9+

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Loved, Loved, LOVED IT!

It's certainly a dark story, but one of the literary classics! During the war bits, I was too scared to continue and left it on the side of my bed for about a month. Don't think that this is a cute story about little bunnies and their imaginary adventures... The story is dark, breathtaking, heart-warming (only at the end). I would love to read it again but it's such a long book and I think that's pity. The story is perfect for an school essay and brings out the positive messages of self-confidence, perseverance and the cycle of life.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
age 10+

Stunning, Gorgeous, Masterpiece

When people hear the words rabbits.. They are usually going to think as the cotton-tailed, long eared bunny. Though, this book shows you a different perspective of rabbits. Their survival. This book is truly stunning. When I say stunning, I mean it REALLY is stunning. It’s dark, yet brilliant. It’s sad, yet beautiful. It’s violent, yet it’s nature. Most say WaterShip Down is bloody, yes it is, but it isn’t really that bad than most see it as. I would even recommend a nine year old to read it, after all he made the story for his daughters. Richard Adams flows words along nicely, adding special details and stories that the rabbits tell. The lore is really neat, along with their religions. The main characters (that are talked about, instead of the background characters) are really unique from each rabbit. Though, they might seem similar to characters you’ve already read. However, you actually do care about these characters. You begin to worry if they die or not, I think Richard tries to give that thought. Not all rabbits survive and he wants you to know that. To end with, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. I found myself crying a couple times and especially at the end, since I didn’t want to end it. Please, just read the book. May Frith guide you on this journey. ((Rest in peace Richard Adams- Thank you

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 12+

Sort of hard to follow, but great story!

Sometimes this book can be hard to follow, but once you get into it, it is GREAT! I love this book! I put 12+ however, due to the fact that there is some violence and younger kids may not understand what is going on, as it can be kind of confusing.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 12+

Great though lengthy animal adventure

I am thirteen years old and have just completed this book. I loved the plot, the characters an the general feel of the story and would recommend it, no questions asked. Although, it must be made clear that because this is an animal story it isn’t automatically appropriate for infants. The story also contains: mild bad language; frequent and sometimes heavy violence: scenes of death; some complicated language and a potentially difficult to follow plot line, not to mention the length of the book itself. For any child over 12, I wouldn’t hesitate generally to allow them this read as it’s pretty tame overall and I’m also not saying that children younger than 12 can’t read this either, it just depends on the maturity and their level of reading. Ultimately, it’s the parental figures choice.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence