Redwall: Redwall, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Exciting tale promotes peace in the face of war.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Courage, bravery, and heroism are big here. The mice of the abbey also value peace above all else. Plus, there's a one-world message as Matthias finds help from sparrows, shrews, an owl, and a cat; they couldn't have defeated the rats without all working together. A direct contrast is made between Cluny's way of leading through force and coercion and the way the creatures at the abbey band together.

Positive role models

Matthias the mouse starts as a small abbey apprentice and becomes a hero, making friends out of other woodland creatures in the process.

Violence

War is waged in defense of the Abbey. The deaths are sometimes inflicted by gruesome methods: impalement, falling from great heights, stabbings, bludgeoning, bee stings, scalding, beheading, etc., and there are a few rather sad deaths of secondary characters. A scary, monstrous adder stalks characters throughout the story. Characters are kidnapped, beaten, and starved by the evil rats.

Sex

A mild flirtation.

Language

Many phrases that contain "hell," usually uttered by Cluny the Scourge. Plus the word "hussy" uttered once.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many references to the partiality of some animals to the ale at the abbey and a mention of an animal being "tipsy."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an exciting and well-told tale, but sophisticated language might deter younger or less experienced readers. Challenging vocabulary and rich, descriptive passages will help readers to improve their language skills. Though characters go to war, and there are plenty of deaths, including sad ones of secondary characters, the inherent value of a peaceful existence is promoted.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The Abbey of Redwall, a haven of peace, is under attack from a band of barbarous rats. How will a kingdom of innocent woodland creatures fend off such experienced villains? The answer lies in an ancient tapestry, a long-forgotten sword, and a young mouse who must rise to his destiny. Rich prose draws readers into an enchanting and humorous fantasy.

The legend of Redwall begins as Abbot Mortimer, leader of a monastery of mice, celebrates his Golden Jubilee, and a clumsy young novice, Matthias, struggles to find his place within Redwall Abbey. While escorting some woodland creatures home after the celebrations, Matthias and his companions are forced off the road by a rabble of rats whose leader, they later discover, is none other than the infamous Cluny the Scourge.
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This legendary rat, whose reputation for cruelty terrifies the inhabitants of Redwall and the surrounding countryside, declares war on the Abbey when the animals refuse to surrender to him. As the woodland creatures prepare for war, Matthias and his old friend, Methusaleh, begin a desperate quest for the magical sword of Martin the Warrior, the famed defender of Redwall. The sword is their only hope in fending off Cluny the Scourge, but they must find it before time runs out!

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Preteens, teens, and adults with a penchant for fantasy and legends are drawn into this magical animal kingdom where unlikely heroes face seemingly insurmountable odds, and have made this series a runaway hit. Opening passages rich in poetry bring the Abbey of Redwall vividly to life. In the opening chapter an atmosphere of calm and comfort seems to pervade the rustic town. Within the very next chapter, however, the mood quickly changes, and the pace of the novel quickens as Cluny the Scourge and his army of rats march menacingly toward the Abbey. Though a war is at the center of the novel, the characters are fighting in self-defense and it is clear that their lives are at stake. As the mice and their friends struggle to defend the Abbey, they see the importance of cooperation and of respecting others.

Matthias, in his quest for the sword, must face traditional enemies of mice -- sparrows, a cat, and an owl. Only by treating these creatures with respect can he gain the aid he and his friends so desperately need. Adding to readers' enjoyment are the escapades of comical characters like the whimsical military hare or the quarrelling band of shrews, which often punctuate the suspense.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the book's unique use of language and how it serves to set the tone of the story.

  • Is this book set in a fantastical place, or a realistic one that could

  • actually exist?

  • Were there any new vocabulary words that

  • you learned while reading the book? What were they -- and do you

  • remember what they mean?

  • What other books have you read that have small but mighty heroes?

Book details

Author:Brian Jacques
Genre:Fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1986
Number of pages:333
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read alone:11

This review of Redwall: Redwall, Book 1 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old January 10, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

great

very good novel.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byLvl100uberpidgey January 7, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Great book!

Most teens will likely say "Talking animals who go on adventures? How incredibly stupid!" I was a bit skeptical at first, but this series of books is incredible! They are very well written and leave you wanting more, which is okay because as of the time I wrote this review, there are about 20 books in the series, and all of them are stellar and live up to the amazing first book!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bypaperback.writer February 1, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Favorite bookseries

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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