Let’s start where ancient wisdom tells us not to and judge this book by its cover. If I didn’t know anything about S.D. Smith‘s first children’s novel or about Story Warren Books, the cover would’ve been enough to convince me to give it a chance. Zach Franzen‘s art is warm and crisp, inviting viewers to explore the world of these rabbits with swords. Okay, so only one rabbit has a sword on the cover. Not the point. The cover art is superb! That’s the point. Young ones will enjoy finding more of Franzen’s art throughout the book as well.
As it stands I actually did know a thing or two about this book and it’s publisher before I purchased it. For instance, Story Warren says they exist to serve you as you foster holy imagination in the children you love. Awesome! Or how about the author’s claim to write new stories with an old soul? Okay. I’m in.
It was a no brainer from there. I had to purchase the hardcover edition of The Green Ember, which is a high quality product and delivers a delightful surprise, that extra little flair that says, “what you have in your hand is special.” What am I talking about? The silver rabbit hiding under the jacket, adorning the cover itself. Nice touch.
But of course, the book is more than a cool cover and great art. The story itself is splendid. Indeed a new story with an old soul. I was delighted by what I read and am glad to say, with respect to new stories and old souls, that Lewis’s Reepicheep welcomed Smith’s kindred blade-wielding rodents into my imagination with open arms.
The adventure was fun, however, it was the personal struggle depicted in the story that I appreciate the most. Without giving anything away, there’s real-to-life tension throughout the tale, hardships with which every character grapples. Life isn’t easy for us, and it isn’t any easier for rabbits with swords. The growth and triumph of the characters are inspirational, living up to Story Warrens motto: Allies in Imagination.
Five stars, friends! I can’t wait to explore what else my new allies have to offer.