The Animals of Farthing Wood is a tale about the residents of Farthing Wood's quest to move to White Deer Park after their home is bulldozed over.
Toad returns after a long journey home to discover the water has dried up. It was their luck to have the foresight that once the water was gone they'd die. They had not known about the plans to cement over the land.
The book is a traditional journey tale not only in the style of other animal books such as Watership Down, but Lord of the Rings.
They stop and they eat, then someone is in peril, they eat, etc.
If you are a fan of this genre, as I am, you will find a lot to like about this book.
However, it is not nearly as compelling as Watership Down orFrost dancers. It almost catches up to Beak of the Moon and Dark of the Moon in quality but the lack of a central character or distinguished culture of these animals makes this book not as real to me. In the aforementioned novels, Watership Down in particular, you feel deeply entrenched in the world of these animals. In Watership Down, they have set customs and rules and don't know [eerily so in Farthing Wood] much about the human existence. There were a myriad of instances where it's either remarked upon the cruelness of humans or the kindness of humans. I scoffed when Owl described the use of machinery for pesticides. That took it a bit too far.
The moral of this story is that humans are taking up all of the land and leaving nothing for our wildlife. The message was well intended, but too much made about human fellows and less about the animals.
The charm of even Beak of the Moon [it did resort to some heavy handedness about sheep] was the lives of these animals were their own.
You got to know about each animal in Farthing Wood because their name was their species and for all females, mate. Vixen, the fox's mate, showed up late to the party but was the only female given any thought. Pheasant's hen gave him a scathing look on occasion, but never chimed in an opinion.
Why must this genre be so sexist?
Are there any animal quests adventures about the girls?
Badger grated on my nerves. To me, he was pompous and overbearing, and far too concern troll over how much Mole ate.
Mole put himself down too much. I have Duncton Woods on my bookshelf to read soon. I hope moles take some back in this book when they are the leads. I found Mole adorable in this book but none of these animals got to act in their habitat. Squirrels had to crawl on the ground, the poor things, and the Rabbits constantly had to duke it out for being vegetarians. As a vegetarian myself, I was on their side.
Badger was at his worst when he crowed "I told you so" [well he did say he was right] to force the field mice and Vole to stay behind, when their babies are eaten. Farthing Wood was written many years before Frost Dancers but both had psychotic birds who killed. Frost Dancer's Bubba was more fleshed out than the Butcher Bird.
Wise Old Owl was meant to come across as an insufferable know-it-all, but the book was trying to play off that Badger knew what was best for everyone.
I've adored Foxes my whole life and I loved this Fox.
Fox and the Hare were my favourite characters in this book.