Select one of the keywords
Cress Watercress    by Gregory Maguire & David Litchfield order for
Cress Watercress
by Gregory Maguire
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a really delightful coming of age story (aimed at ages eight to twelve, but enjoyable for teens and adults as well) from Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked. Interspersed throughout are spectacular drawings of the rural surroundings in which the critter characters live.

The story centers on a rabbit family and opens on a crisis. Papa didn't return from gathering honey in the night. Mama fears the worst and decides to move herself and her children, pre-teen Cress and baby Kip, to a safer location. She can't afford much so they end up in the single basement room of the Broken Arms, whose landlord owl never moves from the penthouse on high and charges ten moths a night.

The other tenants are quite a collection - elderly field mouse superintendent Manny, the Oakleaf squirrel family of six, and gossipy songbirds, 'the eyes of the neighborhood' - but they all do look out for each other in their own ways. Which is a good thing as it's not a safe world for rabbits. There's Monsieur Reynard the fox, Final Drainpipe the snake, Tunk the Honeybear - and humans, the most dangerous of all.

Cress misses Papa and often gives Mama a hard time, but she also helps with baby Kip. Her growing independence leads to a series of exciting and scary adventures, and new friends, squirrel Finny, bad girl rabbit Nasty, and Fricassee the hen. She gradually learns that not everyone is as they seem and finds way to give back to the community that has given so much to her small family.

Cress Watercress is billed (rightly so) as in the tradition of Wind in the Willows. It's engaging, endearing and quite funny - as in its ending: 'THE END / But not the Final Drainpipe)'. Absolutely not to be missed!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Kids books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews