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Imagine if you will, a place where rabbits walk upright, speak like humans, love well and seek to destroy the evils of their world. (Thank you to the Twilight Zone for the intro.)
This sounds down right crazy and weird, doesn’t it?
And you might be right, to some degree.
But I have first hand knowledge of a place JUST like this and I know that you will want to live there for a time, just like the kids and I have done.
Dear friend, let me introduce you to Natalia. Where all of rabbit kind lives and fights. Where you will meet Heather, Picket, Wilfred, and so many more.
These are not the meek and timid rabbits you think you know. These are the rabbits that will teach you all about heroism, strength, truthfulness, devotion, selflessness, courage, honor, and sacrifical love.
I stumbled across a new author years ago (I wish I could remember HOW I found him) a Mr. S. D. Smith that was promoting his story, The Green Ember, with an interesting line that read, “Rabbits with Swords”. Well, that sure was an intriguing and attention grabbing line, so much so that my curiosity was piqued and I clicked over to see what it was all about.
Low and behold I read the most imaginative book description – rabbits indeed with swords the cover showed. Hmmm, what would be the harm of just reading the first book. “Let’s test out this new author and see what kind of mettle he thinks he has to write about rabbits with swords.”
The book arrived and as I read the back of the book to Ana and Joseph I got some very weird looks. I specifically remember Joseph saying, “a book about rabbits? This sounds stupid.” Ana on the other hand was much more willing to try it out.
I started reading that evening (yes, I totally still read aloud to my children – at post publish time were are 16 and 13) and made it though the first chapter with a very wiggly 7 year old on the couch. I stopped and asked for their 7 and 10 year old opinions. Ana (10 at the time) said it was interesting and she would like to hear more. Joseph said he didn’t really care, from his upside down position on the couch, if I wanted to keep reading, that was fine. So I read. And read. And read some more.
By bedtime I had read more than 6 chapters and they still wanted more. Truth be told, so did I. We were absolutely hooked by this story and could not wait to read more.
To share how much we feel in love with Natalia, Heather, Picket and all of the other characters – we finished the book within 2 days and I went to see if Mr. S.D. Smith had any more books available for sale. This led me to follow his author page on Facebook and to make sure I was diligent in finding out about his upcoming books.
I legitimately went and bought anything he wrote including some prequels he had for sale.
Why am I sharing how quickly we read The Green Ember? Because then you will understand how we waited for Every. Single. Book. in the series to come out for us to purchase. (I’m pretty sure I have never per-ordered so many books.)
We started this series back in 2015, shortly after he printed his first book. And I can honestly tell you that when 2020 was announced for the fourth and final book in the The Green Ember series the kids and I were so stinking excited! I made sure to be in on the pre-order and stalked my emails to see when it would ship.
I will not lie. The book arrived and Ana, Joseph and I literally stopped whatever we were doing so I could sit down with them and read. I read for 7 hours, half the book in one sitting. We finished the book the next day. I remember my husband saying, “If you read it all now you won’t have anything else to read.” And we unanimously voted to read anyway!
Heather, Picket, and many other characters have become household names for the kids and I. We reference moments from the story and share a deep abiding love for all of rabbit kind thanks to S. D. Smith. And we all believe that most rabbits are amazingly strong, noble, and above all, righteous and honorable.
If you have made it this far, I commend you. I have been ranting and raving about rabbits for the last few minutes and there was a purpose to it all, I promise.
Because of how the kids and I felt while reading all of the things from S. D. Smith, I hope you will take the opportunity to visit Natalia and get to know Heather and Picket too.
I just know, that if you are a family that LOVES to read aloud, that you will be drawn into this book just like we were.
And, as an aside, S. D. Smith is a Christian man, husband, and father of 4 that lives in the great state of West Virginia. This makes my heart happy to be able to support him and his family. And I may be a wee bit partial to his love of words too. A true wordsmith indeed. You’ll see what I mean when you read the book(s).
If you would like to just dive right in to his books, this is the suggested reading order (publication order):
3. Ember Falls
5. Ember Rising
8. Ember’s End
Good Luck and I hope you find Heather and Picket to be even more honorable and courageous than you imagined them to be.
Enjoy Natalia my friend.
In His Grace,