>The Compassion of Animals is a book full of stories that show the love animals have for humans as well as other animals. This book is a compilation of actual stories of dogs, pigs, horses, cats and other animals coming to the rescue. The pig was being a nuisance when he wouldn’t let his owner sleep, come to find out the pig was trying to warn them that carbon monoxide was leaking into their trailer. A dog inside gets his owner’s attention to save a little boy from freezing when he had ridden his trike too far from home. A man was injured outside his home on a freezing night and the neighbors dog saved him from dying when he insisted his master come out and take a look. A very insistent cat saved his people and their home from a gas explosion. Many stories tell of heroic acts of animals, even at the expense of their own lives. Cry a little, rejoice a lot, and wonder what heroic act your pet may be capable of doing. After reading this book you will find yourself listening a little closer when animals speak.
>A number of films have been released in recent years that are adaptations of graphic novels. These, of course, include all the Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Catwoman, etc. movies, but they are definitely not the extent of this trend. They also include such graphic novels/movies as 300, Watchmen, and Sin City. In the past few months, movies based on the graphic novels Kick A** and the Scott Pilgrim series have been in theaters.
Coraline is another film with a graphic novel tie. The story was originally a novella by Neil Gaiman, adapted into the graphic novel format in 2008 and released as a film in 2009. The story is of a young girl who moves wtih her parents into a large old house transformed into four apartments. On a rainy day, Coraline explores inside rather than out and discovers a bricked up doorway in the sitting room. In the night, the doorway is no longer bricked up and Coraline passes through it into a world containing button-eyed copies of her parents and the other tenants of her building. At first this world seems better than hers, but her real parents disappear from the normal world and the other world starts to unravel. Coraline must figure out how to save her real parents and get away from her “Other Mother,” or be trapped forever and have buttons sewn over her eyes.
Persepolis is a nonfiction graphic novel adapted into a movie. It is the story of one young woman’s experience in Iran during and in the years following the Islamic revolution. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. The graphic novels and the film chronicle Marjane Satrapi’s life from her childhood in Iran during the war between Iran and Iraq to her teenage years going to school in Vienna, Austria and then her young adulthood back in Iran where she attended college, married, divorced and then moved to France. The cinematic style is simple, with the present day depicted in color and Satrapi’s flashbacks to childhood animated in black and white.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a film released in 2003, was based on a comic book series of the same title published beginning in 1999. The film is a action/adventure/superhero movie very loosely based on the graphic novels. It is set in the late 19th century and populated by Victorian Era superheroes. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is brought together to combat the threat of the “Fantom” who is masterminding attacks throughout the world designed to create upheavel on an international scale. They stop the destruction of Venice only to discover their mysterious benefactor had ulterior motives for bringing the group together.
> Before I Fall is about a high school senior named Sam who is popular, mean, loyal, a follower and about to experience something extraordinary. The book opens on Cupid Day and Sam is in the car with her four friends while they head home from a party. Suddenly there’s a car accident and Sam realizes she’s killed in the crash, but she wakes up the next morning and it’s Cupid Day again. Thus begins the last week of Sam’s life, in which she relives one Friday seven times. She tries a different tactic to end this cycle every day, from being as nice as possible to doing whatever she wants throughout the day to spending the entire day with her younger sister. She finally figures out what needs to happen to end the cycle on the seventh day and time finally moves on.
This has obviously been done before, and Sam mentions that it seems like she’s living the movie Groundhog Day. I didn’t like this book for its originality, though. I liked it because of the way Sam handled and reacted to what was happening to her. I enjoyed the way her actions were described and understanding her motivations for the way she acted before and after she started reliving a single day. The book kept me reading and wondering how Sam was going to live the next day and how she was going to stop the cycle from continuing.
> How does a woman from back East prepare for living in the wild west with all it’s hardness? Why, through Hattie Wyatt’s Herdsman School of course. Women come to find a husband, but first they have to measure up to become a bride of one of Barnett’s ranchers. Aunt Hattie makes sure they do, with hands-on training in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, riding a horse and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands. Of course it wasn’t Tressa Neill’s idea to go west. With her parents gone and her Aunt and Uncle not wanting her, what other choice did she have? But maybe it will be worth it if Abel Samms will take notice of her. He already has enough trouble with cattle rustlers and wants nothing to do with the group of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. A Hopeful Heart includes humor, mystery and romance you won’t want to miss.