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Puffin celebrates Watership Down's 40th anniversary

Puffin will be marking the 40th anniversary of classic children's title Watership Down in 2012 with a new ­edition, featuring a fresh introduction by author ­Richard Adams and a photographic cover.

The book was first published in 1972 and tells the story of a band of rabbits, including brothers Fiver and Hazel, fleeing the destruction of their warren by a land developer and journeying to a new home at Watership Down. The intrepid rabbits battle many dangers and enemies, particularly General Woundwort, the violent leader of another nearby warren.

The new edition will be released on 1st March 2012 as a £7.99 paperback, with editor Helen Levene saying the cover look is a "contemporary design" that also reflects "the book's wonderful heritage". She added: "Our design team worked closely with Richard Adams on a number of designs and chose this one, which we feel gives a true flavour of the story inside."

In his new introduction, Adams talks about his surprise at the book's popularity 40 years on, and how he made up the story originally to entertain his two daughters on a long car journey.

Levene said the story continues to "resonate with children and adults alike", adding: "Essentially it is a traditional story of survival against the odds . . . It's enduring appeal lies in the clearly identifiable rabbit characters, and the author's obvious love of nature."