It’s a story about rabbits. Then again, it’s about more than rabbits. A lot more.
Heather and Pickett live with their mother, father and baby brother Jacks in Nick Hollow, not far from the East Woods. It’s an almost idyllic existence. They play and ramble in the fields and meadows, and love to listen to their father tell stories of the old days.
One day, while playing, they hear a scream, and then another. They run for home, only to find wolves attacking it. They’re chased into the woods themselves, and Heather takes a stand against the wolf pack to allow her brother to escape. Through a combination of skillful foot attacks and almost flying through a line of trees (marvelously described in the story) she escapes, and barely makes the cave refuge where her brother awaits. They are saved by a rabbit who tells them he’s their uncle, and a smaller companion rabbit whom their uncle maintains a careful watch over. They make their way through a cave system, and eventually find refuge with a small rabbit city hidden within Cloud Mountain.
And what a world it is – filled with heroes and traitors, villains and forces of evil, a world once overthrown that the rabbits are seeking to rebuild. Heather and Pickett find themselves befriended, and they find themselves shunned – their family is held responsible for the betrayal, overthrow and death of the good King Jupiter.
And now war is upon them again. Pickett must deal with a massive chip on his shoulder, and he and Heather together must overcome the loss of her family. Gradually they come to understand the roles they have to play, reaching within themselves to fight a battle they may not survive.
S.D. Smith is one of the writers and administrators of Story Warren, a site which exists “to serve you as you foster holy imagination in the children you love.” It includes stories, songs and poems for children, as well as resources and articles for parents.
The Green Ember is filled with familiar themes – grace, redemption, courage, and even anger and selfishness – but told in a fresh, exciting way. It may be a story aimed at children, but it is also a story this adult thoroughly enjoyed.
Illustration by Zach Franzen – from the cover of The Green Ember.