Read Adventure Begins by Colin Dann Free Online
Book Title: Adventure Begins|
The author of the book: Colin Dann
ISBN 13: 9780091761516
Edition: Hutchinson Children's Books
Date of issue: June 27th 1994
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 15.86 MB
City - Country: No data
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Reader ratings: 5.9
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This is a prequel to The Animals of Farthing Wood, so chronologically it comes first, even though it was the last book to be written. It's a decent book, but I don't recommend starting the series here.
That's partly because the author got a bit more sophisticated over time, so it may feel odd to take a step "backwards" when you move on to the first (written) book in the series. For instance, each character in that is simply named after their species, e.g. "Fox" and "Badger". By contrast, the animals in this book have adjectives too, e.g. "Stout Fox" and "Lean Fox". (The animals never actually use those names to refer to each other, so the names are gradually introduced after a description.) There is an unfortunate typo on page 57 of this edition where the names get mixed up: (view spoiler)[Sleek Otter is referred to as Smooth Otter by mistake. (hide spoiler)]
The bigger issue is that this book is basically a tragedy. It's not quite the same as a disaster movie (e.g. "Titanic"); I'm thinking more about the ancient Greek plays, where characters do their best to escape their fates, but they're doomed by prophecy and there's an inevitable conclusion. Giving another film comparison, it's more like the "Star Wars" prequels. If you've read the first book in the series, you know the premise: (view spoiler)[Farthing Wood is being destroyed by property developers (hide spoiler)]. So, this story shows how they got to that point. If you start here, you may be discouraged by the bleak ending, and not bother with the rest of the series; that would be a shame, because the other books are much more hopeful.
One interesting thing about this book is that there aren't really any villains: even though different characters/groups are opposed to each other, they mostly have good motivations for what they're doing. (view spoiler)[The otters leave the river and start foraging for food in the wood because there aren't enough fish to sustain them. The woodland animals resent this incursion because then there isn't enough food for them, not understanding that they need the otters around to preserve the wood. There are various cases where animals are killed by humans, but it's always accidental, and the humans feel bad about it afterwards. Even when a mechanical digger tears a rabbit warren apart, it would be easy to portray the driver as a thug who hates small furry creatures, but he stops as soon as he sees what he's done and his colleagues try to save a few of the animals. Meanwhile, the conservationists have noble goals, but arguably make things even worse by scaring away the otters who they're trying to rescue. (hide spoiler)]
Like the rest of the series, this book doesn't flinch away from the fact that lots of animals are carnivores, so they need to kill in order to survive. This may seem a bit harsh, particularly when all the animals are portrayed as sentient. They're not excessively anthropomorphised, e.g. they don't wear clothes or walk on their hindlegs, but they are able to communicate with each other. It's not particularly gory, but there's a high death count. If you're worried about exposing children to traumatic images, the worst scenes probably involve an animal carrying off a decapitated head.
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Read information about the authorColin Dann (born 1943 in Richmond, Surrey (now part of London)) is an English author. He is best known for his The Animals of Farthing Wood series of books, which was subsequently made into an animated series.
Dann worked at the publishing firm William Collins Sons & Co. for thirteen years, and his first novel, The Animals of Farthing Wood, was written during this period. The original cover for this and a dozen others was painted by Portal artist Frances Broomfield.
Colin Dann, recipient of Britain's Arts Council National Award for Children's Literature, is also the author of six sequels and a prequel to The Animals of Farthing Wood.
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