A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Author: Kieran Larwood
- Illustrator: David Wyatt
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publication date: August 7, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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