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Redwall Paperback – September 30, 2002
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About the Author
"I sometimes think it ironic for an ex-seaman, longshoreman, truck driver, policeman, bus driver, etc., to find success writing children's novels," said Brian Jacques (pronounced "Jakes"). Yet it is all too true. With the publication of his first children's book in 1987, the award-winning Redwall, Jacques' fresh talent has received exceptional praise from reviewers in the United States and England. Newbery Award winner Lloyd Alexander called it "a fine work, literate, witty, filled with the excitement of genuine storytelling. Young people will surely be captivated. I hope they give their elders a chance to share the delights."
A well-known radio personality in his native Liverpool--as well as an actor, stand-up comic, and playwright--Brian Jacques was the host of "Jakestown" on BBC Radio Merseyside. Ever the performer, Jacques was well-known for applying his acting and entertainment background to his lively presentations to legions of young fans at schools across the United States and England.
Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact.
He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. His interest in adventure stories began at an early age with reading the books of: Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Thomas Malory, Robert Michael Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Kenneth Grahame. He attended St. John's School, an inner city school that had its playground on the roof. On his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. When given an assignment of writing a story about animals, he wrote about the bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth. The teacher could not, and would not, believe that a ten year old could write that well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then, that he realized that he had a talent for writing.
Some teachers at St. John's proved to be good role models. As Mr. Jacques recalls:
"My favourite teacher was Mr. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big Man. A Captain in World War II. He came to school on a big bush bike with the haversack on back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature. (Because of him, I saved seven shillings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop.)"
This interest in poetry extended to Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith.It was also at St. John's that Brian met a teacher, Alan Durband (who also taught two Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison), who, more than thirty years later would bring about a major change in his life.
After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic.
Penguin mourns the passing of celebrated children’s book author Brian Jacques
Top customer reviews
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As far as the narration. At times, it was a bit over-the-top. However, one must remember this is a fantasy adventure written for a younger audience--and thus--recorded for one. I really liked most of the performance. Once in a while, I had to go back a bit because I didn't understand something fully the first time due to accents, but not a whole lot. I do wish there wasn't such a huge rash of gaps in the Audible Editions. When I first counted the remaining ones that were available, I swear I counted sixteen. When I went back over to check out the rest of a few days time, there were fifteen. Since I purchased, one has been removed and I now have a broken library icon on the Kindle Fire and Audible for it. I hope the Audible gaps are eventually filled in. I guess I'll listen where i can and read the other volumes as Kindle Editions otherwise.
I absolutely adored this story! The creatures came to life on the pages, and the world building is quite beautiful. This story grabbed me, and wouldn't let go. There were moments when I laughed out loud, and there were moments when my heart was broken. There were a few grammatical errors, but did not hinder my flow of reading at all. This is a wonderful middle grade fantasy story; I highly recommend it.
Redwall, the first book in the series, revolves around the adventures of a young mouse named Matthias. Matthias lives at Redwall Abbey, a peaceful sort of place dedicated to helping woodland creatures in need and living in peace in Mossflower. All this is shattered when the notorious rat Cluny the Scourge shows up on the scene, dead set on conquering the abbey and enslaving its inhabitants. It's up to Matthias to step up and lead his fellow creatures to victory over the rat and his horde, with the help of relics left behind by the deceased Martin, the Warrior of Redwall.
I'm very glad I stumbled upon this old favorite and got the chance to read Redwall again! Highly recommended to all ages! I borrowed this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.
It also let me believe that even without religion, a group of people could live harmoniously and spiritually. That sounds so silly when you think about it as a bunch of animals but the world Brian Jacques creates can really speak to some people... and it did to me. Not only that, the adventures were fun and the storyline very entertaining I think to both children and adults. I soon began reading so much more and now I have a whole room dedicated to a library. You hear how Harry Potter did that for many children and teens... The Redwall series did that for me! Now I'm a teacher and a mother and I try to spread the joy of this series wherever I can! Thanks so much to the inventive author who changed me to the core.