Children’s author John Dougherty is Patron of Reading at West Earlham Junior School and chair of CWIG (the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group, part of the Society of Authors). John’s latest book, Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face and the Bees of Stupidity, is out at the beginning of July. He has chosen Watership Down by Richard Adams as his Book of the Month:
When I was about 10, my mum bought me a book. It was about twice as thick as most of my other books, and it had a picture of a rabbit on the front. “Rabbits?” I thought. “I’m not really interested in rabbits.” But my mum said, “Well, why don’t you just read the first chapter, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to read any more.” This, I thought, seemed fair enough; so – not expecting much – I started reading.
Less than a chapter in, I was hooked; and I stayed hooked right to the end, enthralled by what proved to be an epic story of comradeship, adventure and peril. It had everything – brave heroes, a truly sinister villain, loss and destruction, a touch of mysticism, stories-within-stories… It was like the Odyssey*, only with rabbits. And – whether you are a child or an adult – if you haven’t already read it, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do so. It’s exciting; moving; thought-provoking: a story that will stay with you, with a cast of characters you will love. Yes; I know; they’re rabbits. You’ll still love them.
* If you don’t know what The Odyssey is – it’s a fantastic Greek legend about a warrior trying to get home after a war. Well worth reading, too, if you can find a modern retelling. Or if you can read Ancient Greek.