Redwall by Brian Jacques begins the growing saga of the adventures of different woodland creatures dwelling in Redwall Abbey. While older readers might complain of the repetitive nature of the plots, children of the proper reading level will devour these books, and will carry these stories throughout their lives.
In this first book, Jacques relates the story of a young mouse named Matthias who must work against insurmountable odds to protect Redwall Abbey from the evil rat, Cluny the Scourge. With the help of other mice, hares, badgers, moles, voles, otters, and squirrels, the Abbey dwellers must fight off Cluny’s band of vicious rats, stoats, ferrets, foxes, and vixens who seek to overthrow the prosperous Redwall Abbey. All of this happens under the watchful spirit of Martin the Warrior, the founder and guardian of Redwall Abbey. Fighting to protect family, friends, and home, Matthias must use all his wit, skill, and bravery to drive away the evil rats that have come to destroy his beloved Abbey.
The books in the Redwall series constantly uphold bravery, dedication, perseverance, love, family, loyalty, home, and hard work as the virtues that make life worthwhile. The characters often must solve riddles, and find efficient and effective ways to protect themselves from their enemies. While the villains always treat their crews and victims in horrible and cruel ways, the Redwallers always try to make their enemies leave instead of killing them in cold blood. But the Redwallers are not afraid to kill in order to protect themselves.
I personally began reading these books when I was in 4th grade. Nine years later, I introduced my youngest sister to them, and she is continuing to collect the books as they come out to this day. She and I, and countless other readers, are drawn to the ideas that good will always conquer evil, that sad things happen to good creatures, but that does not ever provide a reason to ever forget the blessings that we receive every day. In fact, the struggles make the blessings all the more sweet, and all the more worth fighting for.