Out foraging one day, JaRed runs into two rats, who may be the advance guard of an attack on the mouse city Tira-Nor. When JaRed returns home, the old seer TaMir tells the little mouse he is destined to be the next king. Encounter by frightening encounter, JaRed grows into what has been foretold.
Schwabauer's rendering of the archetypal heroic journey is fresh. As in the best fantasies, the author's imagination conjures a whole world, with a theology, cosmogony, and set of customs; the book includes a glossary and a short appendix explaining the naming traditions of the mice. The familiar hero's journey has immediate relevance for young readers... it's a fine, thoroughly imagined, absorbing read. (Ages 8-12)
PETER DeVRIES - "I found it difficult to leave the story"
I confess, I let this book sit on my shelf a long time before I read it. Once I picked it up, though, I found it difficult to leave the story. "Runt the Brave" is a tale of action and adventure that focuses on a particularly small mouse named JaRed. JaRed lives in uncertain times; his home, the city-state of Tira-Nor, is threatened by drought and an army of rats.
In stories of adventure and discovery, the narrative voice and flow of the story determine how enjoyable it is to read. "Runt the Brave" is a pleasure. Schwabauer writes with an active voice and uses his settings to create rich atmospheres. The following text passage is just one example:
"Summer drew to a close. The stalks of corn in the fields far to the west bent over in death and turned slowly from yellow to black. The endless shafts of tall grass that carpeted the prairie now stood resolutely dormant, as brittle as the wings of a moth. Even the earth seemed little more than a shriveled and rotting husk. Its skin, now hard as bone, lay split into a cracqueleur pattern of dusty runnels" (90).
The story is aimed primarily for youth ages 9-12, but adults will enjoy the story too. Also, "Runt the Brave" would be a good book for parents to read out loud with younger children who will certainly enjoy the well-woven words and actions of young JaRed.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW - "An engaging saga"
Set in the land of Tira-Nor, inhabited by sentient woodland creatures, one little mouse nicknamed "Runt" is the world's only hope against an invading army of terrible rats. A thrilling adventure of putting one's courage to the test in dire situations, "Runt The Brave" is an engaging saga told with excitement and flair.
RICK M. McGARRY, "LIVINGSTON PARENT JOURNAL" - "Good fantasy"
... I expected a heavily moralistic very wooden allegory with two dimensional characters. It is not like that at all. This is a good fantasy. I felt connected to the characters and their situations. The depictions of the culture and history of the city, and the legends told by the mice intrigued me.
I am looking forward to reading this book again with my 11 year old, and giving it as gifts to other children this Christmas.
AMAZON READER REVIEW - "It's gripping, exciting, and original."
I've read a lot of books about talking animals, and Runt the Brave is up there with the best of them. ... I'd go as far as to say it's gripping. It's a fresh, exciting read, and very original.
The writing is quick, and the author doesn't fall into the usual pits that most other authors fall into. In fact, he not only doesn't fail, he succeeds on every level. He utilizes all of the best writing techniques to his advantage. I wasn't disappointed in the least. I was happy to have found such a solid read.
The characters are true to themselves to the end, are dynamic, and interesting. Schwabauer made them seem important and relevant, and I cared what happened to them. The decisions they made changed the course of the plot, which may seem contradictory in the sense that it follows the story of David in the Bible, but that's the brilliance of the novel. He doesn't only stick to a story that already has been laid out; he uses it to his advantage by making the characters move all the pieces into place. He makes the story his own. Not only that, there is nothing allegorical about this book at all. No heavy religious overtones with over-blown themes. The book make hints and gestures without getting in your face.
... Frankly, Runt the Brave is a solid read, written almost flawlessly, with good characters, good dialogue, and a fresh, new story. I couldn't be more pleased. I highly recommend this book to anyone one enjoys a good fantasy, or just a good read altogether.
Amazon reviewer: "deudad"
SUSAN DUNAWAY - "A must-read for the entire family"
I loved this book! I'm excited to share it with both the children and adults in my life. "Runt the Brave" weaves faith, courage and honor with adventure and fantasy. It will grab the attention of young and old while extolling virtues that are all too often overlooked in our present society. Runt debunks the myth that the biggest and strongest are always right by showing that "right makes might". It is a must-read for the entire family!
AMAZON READER REVIEW - "Depth and substance"
I learned about "Runt the Brave" and I thought, "... Could yet another mouse story be any better than the countless others, most of which were... lame? Yes. Oh yes. It was well worth the purchase. My only regret is that I did not also purchase Runt the Hunted at the same time. This spring, at a writer's conference, I had the privilege to hear Mr. Schwabauer read an excerpt from his third (unfinished) Runt book, The Curse of the Seer. It left me close to tears.
You should know that if you've read "Redwall" and liked it, you'll almost certainly like Runt the Brave. ...It has what Redwall doesn't: a plot with meaning; characters who are not shallow caricatures, but have depth and substance; a villain worth fearing; and some pretty decent poetry, to boot.
Amazon reviewer: "Hobbit Wannabe"
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