The Animals of Farthing Wood is an epic. An honest-to-god lengthy-narrative epic poem, except without the poetry part. Which maybe defeats the entire purpose of calling it an epic poem. In any case, it feels like an epic. It's to do with a bunch of animals, foxes and badgers and mice, having to relocate from one park to another. That makes it sounds really simple, which it isn't. It's an epic.
It draws these vivid characters; wise, cocky, mysterious characters (though not all at once-for example, with Badger, the wise man, if I remember correctly, he's not so mysterious-that's reserved for Vixen-Fox's true love). The journey takes them through thick and thin, through times that suck, and times that don't-and it takes them through the city. It forces them to confront what the natural world has become-man's world.
It sounds moral-heavy, and it probably is, but when you're a kid, you don't focus on that. You don't focus on anything of the sort. Just the journey they're taken on, and the characters that go along with it.
What I remember most, however, isn't the characters, or the plot. This book was the last book my parents read to me (not because of any tragedy, I was just getting a little too old for it), and, in some ways, it was the perfect book to stop on. It was about heroes, and death, and most of all, the end of innocence.
Rating: four and a half out of six stars.