Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Eulalia! The Warrior Cry of Redwall

One of the children’s authors that I came to as an adult is Brian Jacques (1939-2011). He always loved to write, even as a child, but he spent much of his adult life in other lines of work. He was a merchant sailor, truck driver, bus driver, policeman, just to name a few of his varied occupations. He later became an actor, standup comic, and playwright, as well as a well-known radio host.

Yet, he found his passion while reading to the children of the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he delivered milk. He was dissatisfied with children’s literature, finding that they lacked magic. So, he started to write stories for them himself. His first book, Redwall, was a written for them.

When I first read Redwall, and the 21 other books in the series, I was drawn in by his powerful descriptions that attacked every sense – smell, taste, sound, feel, and of course, visual. At the time, I did not realize that this was originally written so that the blind children he was reading to could fully experience the story.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Redwall series, it brings to life an entirely anthropomorphic world of animals living in a swashbuckling Iron Age of swords and daggers, castles and ships. There is betrayal and love and adventure. The books center on the triumph of good over evil. They are long books that you won’t mind spending hours in because the characters are so real.

My husband calls them my “mouse” books, and they have made me take notice of majestic root systems in old trees and aged stone walls. Instead of passing by them, I now pause and look closely, just in case there is an entire world there that I had not noticed before. Each time I take that closer inspection, I hold my breath hoping to hear the faint warrior cry of the mice of Redwall Abbey – Eulalia!

Jacques also wrote eight other Redwall related books, some for younger readers. He wrote a three book series called Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, two Urso Brunov books and two collections of stories. I own and have read them all. 🙂


  1. What a fantastic series, I loved these books when younger. 🙂

  2. charliebritten

    Writing specifically for the blind, emphasising all the senses more than usual must be a great challenge! A writing friend once read one of my novels to his blind pupils, but they weren’t adapted in any way.

    • I would like to take a lesson from Mr. Jacques and put more focus in the descriptions of setting and characters in my stories. I didn’t realize he had written for blind children initially and the detail just swept me right into the story!

  3. Great post. I read all of these as a teenager and loved them. I still have them on my bookshelves. Great fact about the vivid descriptions of food etc, never knew he intended the books to be read for the blind.

    • I discovered them as an adult, but loved the detail Mr. Jacques used. He painted such a vivid world that I felt like I was right in the middle of it!

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