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Cress Watercress

Aug 27, 2022

Cress is a young rabbit whose father doesn’t come home one night.

Her mother must move her and her brother Kip to a new home and Cress is not happy about it.

Not only is the landlord grumpy, the superintendent nosey and the squirrel family rambunctious, but she doesn’t like the look of the Broken Arms basement apartment in the trunk of an oak tree.

Cress is full of attitude, curiosity, and courage, as she tries to navigate a life without her father, be helpful to her mother, and figure out who she is in the world.

This not a cutesy animal story. It’s an adventure, survival, and coming of age tale of a little rabbit and her family who are starting over.

We watch Cress and her family deal with their grief, and learn to manage change and new beginnings. There are beautiful and powerful lessons for Cress about friendships, loss, and figuring out who she is.

“Cress felt as if she were becoming someone different. She wondered who. Maybe that is what growing up was all about — not knowing yourself, over and over again. How tiresome. What if you get up to be someone you actually didn’t like?

We all go through tender and difficult times in our lives and need to deal with difficult feelings.  

I love how the cast of characters in this book are so real. The mother is worn out parenting solo, Cress pushes the boundaries and doesn’t always listen so well, and the family fights.

As the plot develops, not only do we follow Cress on multiple adventures, but we also see Cress bring her community together to scare away the dopey bear. He ends up seeing the wonder of Cress and helping her to see herself.

This is a perfect read aloud book for your middle grade children at bedtime or for your students in the classroom. David Litchfield’s illustrations are doted throughout the book to keep you engaged and delighted.

I give this chapter book two thumbs up. The whole family will enjoy it.

Helps with: loss, grieving, change, moving, new beginnings, coming of age, gaining independence and self- confidence, building friendships and community, family relationships, dealing with difficult feelings, and learning about yourself.

Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2022