The Gift of Dark Hollow: Longburrow, Book 2

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
The Gift of Dark Hollow: Longburrow, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Magical gifts help brave rabbits in exciting sequel.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

As now-aged bard Pook tells the story of Podkin, he also passes along to his eager young apprentice useful stuff about the storyteller's craft, such as including lots of vivid detail and doing a quick recap when people might have forgotten part of the story. The world of Longburrow loosely matches the map of Europe, but it's a different (and human-free) time.

Positive Messages

Strong messages of courage, determination, kindness, friendship, family. Also the importance of individual strengths and talents in getting a task accomplished or overcoming an evil force.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Former brat and fledgling hero Podkin is appealing and relatable as he tries to be worthy of his brave father, killed by the Gorm, even as he constantly struggles with his own fears (and also moments of petty jealousy). His older, capable sister, Paz, works tirelessly to heal the sick and wounded and shows much kindness and wisdom. Baby Pook, the future bard, shows a great talent for sneaking along uninvited on adventures, but proves to have essential talents.


David Wyatt's illustrations often show plucky little rabbits surrounded by scary-looking Gorm, onetime normal rabbits now turned into robotic, zombie-like monsters. The Gorm, who killed Podkin's father and many others in Book 1, are still a looming threat, roaming the countryside and enslaving entire rabbit settlements. One of the characters, who wears a bone mask, belongs to an ancient order of hired assassins that serves the Goddess of Death. A rabbit priestess is held captive and tortured by the Gorm. Not all rabbits survive battles and imprisonment.


"Giant snakes be damned," says the bard. Occasional references to bottoms, as in landing on yours, and warnings to avoid food that may cause trouble on the way out.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult rabbits drink mead, and some, especially bards, overindulge. It's not presented as glamorous, especially when you have to sleep through the drunken singing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Gift of Dark Hollow is the second installment of Kieran Larwood's Longburrow series, a rabbit epic apparently destined to extend far beyond its originally planned two volumes. In a tale told by the aging, mead-swilling bard who was part of it all as a baby, young Podkin One-Ear, his sibs, and a host of brave rabbits battle the robotic, zombie-like Gorm, who killed Podkin's father, imprisoned his mother, and are bent on enslaving all the rabbits. Not all characters survive the battles, imprisonments, and other dangers, and the young rabbits encounter someone who belongs to an order of assassins and has to kill something every day to survive (usually, it's a beetle). All of this may be a bit intense for some, but it's an exciting, often funny, ultimately upbeat story with plenty of positive messages about courage, family, the importance of everybody's particular talents, and overcoming your fears -- and it leaves plenty to be developed in future volumes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byjmassanari April 26, 2021

Riveting Read Aloud Adventure!

While we have had to "tone down" some of the graphic descriptions of some of the battle scenes in this book for our 8&10 year olds, it has bee... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Following the events of the first volume, young Podkin One-Ear, his sister, Paz, and baby brother, Pook, along with their friends and companions, are in constant terror and preparing to flee their hiding place to escape the relentless Gorm. Then THE GIFT OF DARK HOLLOW -- a magical brooch from ancient times whose powers prove quite handy as the plot unfolds -- finds its way into Podkin's hands. This gives them not just another magical weapon but also hope, and when they get word of another Gift, the race is on to secure it before the Gorm find out and seize it for themselves. Bold adventures, scary situations, and more than a few sweet, funny moments follow. As do a lot of rabbit bards, who seem to love drinking almost as much as they love storytelling.

Is it any good?

The saga of young rabbit brat-turned-hero Podkin continues with lots to keep young readers enthralled, including epic battles, brave deeds, scary monsters, helpful magic, and sweet humor. Along the way, there's a lot of sadness, loss, and heroic sacrifice, as not all characters survive the evil Gorm, but that often inspires more courage in the youthful heroes. 

As The Gift of Dark Hollow unfolds, readers can take heart from the parallel plot thread involving the young protagonists as much older rabbits -- much of which is devoted to insightful lessons on storytelling from the old bard to his hopeful protégé. David Wyatt's detailed illustrations make the brave young heroes and scary villains all the more relatable.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stories like The Gift of Dark Hollow, where monsters or some other kind of evil being attacks the hero's family, or friends, or village. Why is this such a popular theme? What are some examples you like, and why do you like them?

  • Sometimes life isn't fair -- as when Paz can't be chieftain because she's a girl, even though she's perfect for the job -- and you have to just deal with it and do the best you can. Have you ever not been able to do or have something you really wanted, no matter what? How did you deal with it?

  • Have you ever thought you might want to be a storyteller? What would be the first tale you'd tell?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and animal stories

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