Books Similar to Watership Down
For many readers, Watership Down was one of the novels that marked a transition from childhood towards adulthood. Although it is a book about talking rabbits, the story is deeper than the average children's book and deals with mature themes. The author, Richard Adams, initially came up with the idea by telling his daughters improvised stories during car trips. It was only after they insisted that he wrote those stories down that it became a full novel. However, the story faced rejections from all of the major London publishers until Rex Collings took a chance on it and the rest is history. Watership Down went on to win numerous awards and received film, television, radio and even theater adaptations. It also inspired many other authors to write stories about animals that incorporated mature themes. Here are just a few examples of books that are similar to Watership Down.
by Richard Adams
It took 25 years, but Richard Adams eventually wrote a sequel to Watership Down in 1996, titled Tales from Watership Down. However, instead of a full blown novel, Adams wrote 19 short stories about the rabbits. Some of the stories in Tales from Watership Down are about rabbit mythology, but there are also a number of chapters about the characters who were featured in the first book. In addition, this book also introduces a couple of new characters to join the familiar ones. Since this book features stories that details exactly what happens after the events of the original book, it is a perfect companion to Watership Down.
by Robert O'Brien
Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH was actually released a year before Watership Down and featured a very similar theme. Instead of rabbits fleeing their burrow in search of safety, the characters in this book are rodents with a similar purpose. The protagonist, Mrs. Frisby, is a field mouse who lives in a garden where a farmer will soon begin his spring plowing. This means that she has to move her family, but she requires help for this task as one of them is ill with pneumonia and won't survive such a cold trip. Her search for aid leads her to a group of rats that escaped from the National Institute of Mental Health, where experiments have gifted them with human-like intelligence. The group of rodents faces numerous perils as they try and relocate, including the scientists from the NIMH who want to exterminate them all.
by Tad Williams
Just like Watership Down was the debut novel of Richard Adams, so is Tailchaser's Song the first book Tad Williams ever published. The world in the book is viewed through the eyes of a cat named Fritti Tailchaser and features plenty of anthropomorphic animals. Just like the rabbits in Watership Down, the animals in Tailchaser's Song also all have their own languages and cultures as well as mythologies. Part of this mythology is the believe by the cats that humans are simply a race of deformed cats who should be distrusted. The book also features a long journey, with Tailchaser setting out to visit the feline royal Court of Harar to discover the reason behind recent cat disappearances. Along the way, Tailchaser is joined by a few companions and also encounters plenty of danger.
by Daniel Polansky
The Builders by Daniel Polanksy features anthropomorphism, but it is definitely not a story for children. Instead, Daniel Polanksy looked towards spaghetti Westerns for his inspiration when writing this tale about animals and revenge. It is the tale of the Captain, a mouse who was defeated along with his companions during a mission to put their king on the throne. However, the Captain is still fuming over the loss, which was caused by betrayal and infighting, so he decides to get the gang back together and set things right. From Barley the badger with a chain-gun to the assassin stoat, Bonsoir, these are no ordinary group of animals. Readers who appreciated the darker elements of Watership Down will find plenty more of those in The Builders.
by Brian Jacques
Redwall is the first book in the fantasy novel series of the same name by Brian Jacques. The book was published in 1986 and in total twenty two novels as well as two picture books were published in the series. The first book introduces readers to a young mouse named Matthias, who lives at the Redwall Abbey in the Mossflower Woods. It is a place that is meant to be a refuge for all animals in times of trouble, but then an evil rat named Cluny the Scourge and his horde of vermin set their sights on Redwall. The inhabitants of the abbey prepare to make a stand against Cluny, but Matthias fears it won't be enough and goes on a quest to find a legendary sword that could help turn the tide. Redwall had a graphic novel adaptation and was also turned into a musical as well as a television series.
by David Clement-Davies
Fire Bringer was published in 1999 and has been compared by many readers and critics to Watership Down. Even Adams himself was a fan of the book, calling it one of the best anthropomorphic fantasies known to him, which is high praise indeed. The story is about a red deer, named Rannoch, who is born with a special oak leaf shaped mark on his forehead. This mark holds great significance amongst the red deer, because it is mentioned in a prophecy that the bearer of the mark will have the ability to talk to all animals and lead the red deer to freedom. This forces Rannoch to flee as he is seen as a threat to the leadership of the herd, but he knows that one day he must return to fulfill the prophecy.