What’s the Deal with Rabbits?

I finally—finally—got Chestnut a copy of Watership Down. The trick, it turned out, was to look for the book not in fiction, not even to look it up on the computer, which pretended the library didn't have it, but to look in assignment books. Oh, how I hate the "assignment books" designation. It exemplifies everything that is wrong with labeling groups of books. It's like putting a skull and crossbones on them, and then (for good measure) taking them out of the library at all, because who's going to look there when browsing?

But I digress.

I'm here to talk about the back cover copy on Watership Down. Witness:

2015-04-13 21.20.21

Er, notice anything…strange? Any…euphemisms? Any important information that is left out? Like maybe, rabbits? But why? What could it mean?

Here's where things start to get weird. Take a moment to appreciate this, if you will:


What…is this creature? What…will we do? What…is the deal with rabbits?

I'm sensing a conspiracy. Wait—hear me out! Look at the evidence! People are, for reasons we can only guess at, avoiding mentioning rabbits. Is this about how rabbits are supposed to procreate all the time? Is it because we ran out of creatures to be scared of? When is the next YA about killer rabbits coming? (Hint: please make it soon.)

Or, if you're more this way, explain to me some other reason you might write a description of Watership Down without mentioning rabbits at all—a reason other than abject terror!

Also, in case you're wondering, here is the cover the copy:

2015-04-14 07.18.17

Would you know this was a book about rabbits? I didn't think so.

I rest my case.

5 thoughts on “What’s the Deal with Rabbits?

  1. It’s been 30+ years, so I can admit it now, but I had NO idea Watership Down was about rabbits when I first picked it up at the library and decided to read it.


  2. I kind of thought that the point was that it never explicitly said that they were rabbits, and at some point as you read it, it dawns on you, and you have that AHA moment that you wouldn’t have if it were right on the cover…


  3. Wow. Just—wow. That never occurred to me, and I am feeling particularly obtuse right now. And it still is weirdly like The Night of the Lepus, where you also have an aha moment.
    I feel like I always knew they were rabbits, but maybe I didn’t? Maybe he didn’t want us to?
    Help, you have blown my paltry mind.


  4. Was it given to you by someone saying “Here, read this book about rabbits?” Because that would do it too, and then of course you would assume that everyone knows beforehand, since you read it in that frame of mind to begin with.


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