Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 260
Format : Non Fiction, Folklore, Art
Reason for Reading : 11 11 11 Challenge

Anyone looking to get started in examining the folklore, mythology and meaning of the hare should start with this book. A mixture of tales, anecdotes, art, knowledge and study all focusing on the hare. The author and artist lives near a field nicknamed "Black Patches" after the black tips of the ears of hares and began studying and painting them.

There are summaries of tales from around the world, although the focus is on tales from Europe and especially the UK being this is where she is from. This worked more as a taster for me and really piqued my interest to go and do my own research. There is also a section on the anatomy of the hare and general information (I never knew makes are Jack's and females are Jill). The most interesting parts for me were the middle sections looking at the meaning of the hare. For example the triple hare is found in many churches around Dartmoor in Devon. It is possibly to represent the trinity or the divine feminine. My uncle lives by Dartmoor and I'm hoping to visit some of the churches and see the carvings for myself next year.

One of the main draws is all the artwork (see below). Karen has filled the book with many of her original pieces which she sells through Hedingham Fair online and at various events. The hare gazing at the moon below and the lunar hare jumping out of the moon as another studies it's reflection are my two favourites, although there are many more. Another aspect I really enjoyed was that she showcased other artists, authors and musicians at the end who have been inspired by hares so I have more to look into. I've only ever seen a hare in the wild once. I was visiting a long barrow near Bath and as I walked towards it with a friend, a hare jumped up from the grass and raced away just as a buzzard flew overhead. A magical day and I'm hoping to go hare spotting soon.