Smith, S.D. The Green Ember.
The Green Ember is Smith’s first novel (and first in a series), a story of two brave young rabbits fleeing for their lives from the ravages of evil wolves and birds of prey. Their family history isn’t all that it seemed to be, and the new friends and allies that they meet have much to teach them about growing up, taking responsibility, bravery, kindness, and forgiveness.
This is a really good story, and one that I would encourage parents to send their kids’ way. It was slow at the beginning, but picked up quickly and turned into an exciting adventure with good, solid, mature truth providing the foundation. The writing is somewhat stilted or forced in places, especially at the beginning, but Smith finds his rhythm as the story progresses. The story itself isn’t stilted, just the writing and only in a couple of places.
One particularly valuable aspect of the story is how it honestly portrays and handles selfishness and self-doubt. Picket is riddled with both, and the way Smith shows us Picket’s struggle is powerful. Kids (and adults–at least this one) who read this will be able to easily recognize themselves in characters like Picket. What’s more, there aren’t trite, solve-everything-in-a-snap answers in the story, just like real life. Repentance is hard, and struggling with difficult circumstances is real. It’s very affective to see this displayed so well in this story.
The next volume is forthcoming, and The Green Ember is certainly worthy of a follow-up.