Cress Watercress
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Cress Watercress

Gregory Maguire, David Litchfield

A lavishly illustrated woodland tale with a classic sensibility and modern flair-from the fertile imagination behind Wicked   

Gregory Maguire turns his trademark wit and wisdom to an animal adventure about growing up, moving on, and finding community. When Papa doesn’t return from a nocturnal honey-gathering expedition, Cress holds out hope, but her mother assumes the worst. It’s a dangerous world for rabbits, after all.

Mama moves what’s left of the Watercress family to the basement unit of the Broken Arms, a run-down apartment oak with a suspect owl landlord, a nosy mouse super, a rowdy family of squirrels, and a pair of songbirds who broadcast everyone’s business. Can a dead tree full of annoying neighbors, and no Papa, ever be home?

In the timeless spirit of E. B. White and The Wind and the Willows - yet thoroughly of its time-this read - aloud and read-alone gem for animal lovers of all ages features an unforgettable cast that leaps off the page in glowing illustrations by David Litchfield.

This tender meditation on coming-of-age invites us to flourish wherever we find ourselves.


From Gregory Maguire, author of the book that inspired the stage phenomenon Wicked, and stunningly supported by picture book creator David Litchfield’s glorious illustrations full of colour and imagination, Cress Watercress is a new classic in the making.

With the golden feel of a Peter Rabbit or The Wind in the Willows, we delve into the world of Cress, a young rabbit. We meet her family just as Papa has gone missing and Mama, believing the worst, has decided to move Cress and her little brother Kip (with his toy carrot that is always within reach) to the basement of the Broken Arms, an old oak tree apartment that is run by Mr Titus Pillowby Owl.At first the Broken Arms and the other tenants are strange and scary. It will never feel like home to Cress, but as she starts to bond with Finny, one of the many squirrel brothers that live upstairs, and makes friends with a runaway chicken she calls Fricassee Sunday, and is mistaken for a woodland spirit by Tunk the honey-obsessed bear, things start to change. With its themes of learning empathy, discovering new friendships, finding independence, and being able to move forward after a tragedy, this lovely tale teaches as it entertains. For ages 7+.

Claire Atherfold is the manager of Readings state library

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