Lissa's Reviews > The Farthing Wood Collection III: Three Books in One

The Farthing Wood Collection III by Colin Dann
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Jul 19, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from July 09 to 19, 2011

The Siege of White Deer Park

This is probably my least favourite Animals of Farthing Wood story because the animals are really and truly helpless in the face of a massive wild cat hunting in their Park - including the rare White Deer. My partner - who's English - tells me that there used to be rich people in England who would purchase exotic cat cubs and then release them into the wild when they grew too big. I know, it sounds ridiculous, right? The existence of wild big cats in Britain is unproven, but there have been reported sightings, much like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. For further information, check out the Wikipedia page dedicated to British big cats. I just happened to stumble across the page before reading the book.

I feel this book is really anti-climactic, because in the previous books, Fox has always managed to save the day. When the hardest winter on record hit, he organised it so that everyone had enough food to eat and then exposed the poachers and saved the white deer. He organised Scarface's murder when the old fox was terrorising and murdering Farthing Wood animals. And here in this story, he just wants to sit and wait it out. Which, OK, yeah, I understand in a way. He and the rest of the original Farthing Wood group are elderly and most of them are dead from the winter, from Scarface, from the Beast, or from old age. But this story does nothing to add to the legend of Farthing Wood. It's just a terrifying story with a poor solution to a major problem.

It's also bleedingly obvious why they didn't cartoon-ify this book. It's way too graphic for the simplicity of the other books and the ending, as I said, is rather poor.

In the Path of the Storm
This is another wonderful example of just what wildlife has to go through during one of their seasons. Although I feel slightly let down that Plucky is indeed Fox's great-grandson, not just grandson. But it's a pretty good story about when the stream is poisoned and the Great Stag dies, a younger brute stag takes over the herd and tries to take over the park. he forbids anyone else from drinking at the pond, which is the only source of clean water left.

My favourite part in this probably has to be when Badger drinks from the stream and thinks he is dying, and then it turns out he's actually OK, and Fox and Vixen dig him a new set next door to them. Ah, Badger.

The sub-plot concerns Tawny Owl revisiting the old Farthing Wood, which has been renamed Farthinghurst and only the Great beech remains. He's trying to find a mate because some of the other animals pick on him for being a bachelor. he finds this mate called Holly, whom I really dislike. But the Great Beech is destroyed when a hurricane touches down and also destroyed habitat in White Deer Park. It makes me wonder just how far away the park is from the old Farthing Wood and also, what the fuck is a hurricane doing in England? Get me out of this country.

Battle for the Park
Having been the only story bar the prequel that I had never actually read before, I was surprised to find that it actually did correspond with the third and final season of the cartoon. Here I was, thinking for most of my life that the rat infestation and disappearance of random animals was somewhat contrived. As it is, the only major discrepancy I can find with the cartoon is that they freaking kill Badger to (re)introduce Shadow and Herkle and Weasel ends up leaving the park to have her babies. Which is amusing because in the books, Weasel is male.

I am still saddened by the number of deaths in this book. Well, not so much the numbers but exactly who died. I was in fear the entire book of Badger giving up the ghost. I was upset by (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

07/10/2011 page 82
16.0% "It's a bit of a shock to jump from Bold's adventures to one whole year later. I would have liked to have seen how Whisper ended up coping with her cubs, and gotten to know Charmer and Ranger's by name as well. As it is, we're introduced to Bold and Friendly's cubs who are already a year old and fathers themselves. I feel like I missed something."
07/11/2011 page 124
23.0% "Is it a leopard? Are wild leopards wandering the English countryside in the 1980s?"
07/11/2011 page 155
29.0% "Well, that was anti-climactic."
07/11/2011 page 218
41.0% "If I hadn't seen the cartoon and known exactly how Trey gets dealt with, I'd probably think this was another hopeless circumstance for the Animals of Farthing Wood."
07/13/2011 page 244
46.0% "Holly is such a bitch."
07/15/2011 page 339
64.0% "Finished with In the Path of the Storm, now on to the final story, Battle for the Park, which I have never read before. Ever. Shocking, I know."
07/17/2011 page 373
71.0% "Where the funk are Plucky and the others being taken?"

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