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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2013
The River Singers is an amazing book which involves love, drama and comedy all at the same time.
It all begins when the voles' home is invaded by a mysterious killing machine of a creature, after a struggle the baby voles (Sylvan, Orris, Fern and Aven) suffer a loss, their mother, who is killed and the young are left to fend for themselves.
After being driven out of their mother's territory by an unfriendly neighbour they are unfortunate enough to re-encounter the beast that ruined their (once) perfect life. Being light footed, the young voles escape with their lives, but realise they are going to have to find their own territory and burrows if they wanted to survive. This journey is both touching and factual as it describes the realistic nature of a water vole and it's habits.
I think this book is great for all different ages and highly recommend it. I hope many generations will enjoy this amazing story.

Esia Forsyth
aged 11 years
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on 21 September 2013
I couldn't put this lovely book down! The adventures of the water-voles are engaging and evoke memories of happy childhood hours with tales of the riverbank. The cover and illustrations are also very attractive. Highly recommended.
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on 21 December 2014
I loved this book. I loved the fact that it was written by an expert in voles - an Oxford academic - but is a wonderful story full of drama and loveable characters. I found it totally absorbing and very well written, reminding me of 'Watership Down' but also of 'The Wind in the Willows'. The illustrations throughout by Simon Mendez were beautiful and really increased the sense of being in a very special world. I loved the lyrical, spiritual relationship of the voles with the river, and somehow the very sad and dangerous parts of the voles' lives was held in perfect balance with this, so that the book was accurate about life and death, but never gratuitously cruel or, on the other hand, unrealistically sentimental. I am really glad there is a sequel, and can't wait to read it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A charming and almost mesmerising tale of a young family of water voles living on the banks of 'The Great River'. The young family leave the warm and cosy safety of their nest and this is where their adventure of life and challenge to survive begins.

Life on the 'Great River' provides both homely comforts and threats and the predators are seldom far away, hence it is not always a happy tale and there are losses along the way..

The tale is told from the perspective of the voles, building characters via anthropomorphism for each and thoroughly engages the reader, whether an older child or an adult, in my case a 49yo adult. It is clear that the author has spent time observing wildlife and voles along with their behaviour characteristics and the territorial behaviour of females. Next time I sit beside our woodland stream amidst the vole-burrows glimpsing occasional voles and the odd rat, I will be thinking of Sylvan and his siblings, and their friend Fodur.

Disappointingly my review copy was an uncorrected manuscript so didn't include the sketches I was hoping for. However, having seen samples of those to be included I am tempted to buy the published edition. A most delightful read for an older child or adult and I am looking forward to the imminent publication of the sequel, The Rising, too.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the first book I've read by Tom Moorhouse, and I was really impressed with it.

It's a story about water voles, a mother and her four little children, (Sylvan, Orris, Fern and Aven). Now they are old enough to explore their Mum takes them on a little trip to see where they can feed and where their territory ends. They have a really nasty neighbour called Mistress Valera and she's only cares about one thing which is herself. Something happens and then Sylvan, Orris, Fern and Aven are left on their own to fend for themselves and fight for their lives.

Sylvan then meets another male vole Elon and they talk about the dark things that are happening where they live. This is where their dangerous journey begins as they decide to leave the comfort of their own territory and find somewhere new to live. Then they find the most unlikely friend who gives them help.

That's all I'm going to say about the story as I don't want to spoil it for you.

Personally if I was a parent I would say this book is for 13 years and above, (but if you are going to read it to them I'd say 9 years and above).

This is a lovely little book, its fast moving and action packed. All his characters have great depth and great personalities.

It's a compulsive and enjoyable read.

If you've enjoyed reading animal stories in the past, (like "Watership Down" or "tarka the Otter" etc) then you'll love this one.
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
'The River Singers' tells the story of Sylvan the young water vole and his family. No sooner are they out of their burrow and exploring their surroundings, than disaster strikes. Left to fend for themselves against a new and unknown predator, Sylvan and his siblings are forced to set off in search of a new home and safety.

This is a perfect story for young readers who like animals and can cope with some rather dramatic moments. It's very nicely written, with some lovely evocative descriptions. Not everyone makes it safely to the end of the story, so it's perhaps not suitable for children who would find that upsetting, but it is ultimately a heartwarming story about bravery, loyalty and adventure.
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on 2 January 2014
This is an absolutely fantastic read! I can't believe it is Tom's first novel, as it is already my favourite book and I have read a lot of amazing books. The River Singers is packed full of adventure, surprises and a great bond of friendship. It is a story of how a family of voles experience winning and losing against the great dangers of life on the river bank! As I was reading this great story I felt as if I became one of the characters drawn into their situation. I would recommend this book to 9+ years who enjoy reading books by Lauren St John, Colin Dann (The Animals of Farthing Wood) and those who have previously enjoyed the Tumtum and Nutmeg series by Emily Bearn. I am sure who ever reads this book will love it as much as I did!! I can't wait for the sequel!! By Luke, a 9 year old fan.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's difficult to put together enough superlatives for this book. There are comparisons with Watership Down, but The River Singers has a haunting, mystical quality that isn't so evident in that classic. There is a deep knowledge of wildlife and of water voles in particular. All the animal interactions are depicted exactly as they would be observed in nature; the feeding behaviours, greetings and territorial marking.

This is backed up with beautifully written dialogue, I particularly liked the way in which the slightly alien nature of the rat, Fodor, is underlined with his unusual speech, reminiscent of an old countryman from a bygone era.

The story itself is action packed and page turning, with the young water-voles under attack from an un-named enemy (although those with a knowledge of British wildlife will rightly suspect escaped mink as being the creature in question).
The animal characters are engaging and believable, both heroes and villains. Although marketed as a children's book, it's a lovely read for all ages. It works as a stand-alone story but with the promise of a sequel and much to follow.. Great stuff.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 31 December 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a brilliant book.
It written for the competent young reader of between 8/10 years and has a very exciting plot line with lots of twists and turns that had me turning the pages from start to finish in a day because I quite simply could not put it down.
The story is focused on a family of singers..water voles who at the age where they need their mother most lose her to a new foreign predator stalking their river bank and their subsequent struggle to survive.
The author really knows his stuff in relation to the creatures and environment he is writing about and gives them very relatable characters who you really root for.
He tackles fear, bravery, loss and a whole heap of other emotions in a beautiful thoughtful manner which younger readers can understand and deal with while keeping the story flowing and exciting.
It is the kind of book you used to sit on the floor of your primary school classroom listening to your teacher read, the one where you wanted to stay after the home time bell to hear just a little more!
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This story follows Sylvan the water vole from his early days in the burrow with his mother, brother and two sisters. Very quickly it is clear that danger is everywhere as the outside is “full of weasels and owls and things that want to eat us”.

However these are dangers they can deal with, but a new danger arrives, “I hear whispers of a new enemy, a black creature, more vicious than the others.” This danger leaves the young motherless, and Sylvan, as the oldest, has a new found responsibility. “Yesterday life had been a game. Now he was a small, scared vole, huddled in a burrow, responsible for his siblings. And tomorrow they would have to fight or be driven from their home and into the unknown.”

This forces Sylvan to lead his family downstream, past other dangers. “Somewhere downstream was a home for them, he was sure of it. It was his job to get them there.”

Overall it has a plot similar to Watership Down, except it is about voles, or river singers as they are also known. This doesn’t matter too much of course. The fact that voles, minks, otters, herons etc. feature in the book gives children the ideal chance to learn a little more about these creatures in a fiction setting, a much easier environment to learn in my opinion than non-fiction texts. There is a little death along the way so your child will have to be able to deal with that, but if so this is a little gem of a book.
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