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review 2017-07-24 17:16
Beasts of Burden
Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged I... Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In #0 (Beasts of Burden Vol. 1) - Evan Dorkin,Sarah Dyer,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites - Evan Dorkin,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden - Neighborhood Watch - Evan Dorkin,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers #1 (Beasts of Burden Vol. 1) - Evan Dorkin,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden Hellboy One-Shot Comic - Mike Mignola

In the film 101 Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita howl for help once their puppies have been stolen.  It is an interesting concept, this use of howling and work because any dog owner can believe it.  Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson start their excellent series about a group of dogs the same way.  The dogs of Burden, however, do so to call on the help of a wise dog.

 

                Wise Dog = Merlin or Gandalf, he is an English Sheep Dog after all.

 

                In Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (the first four issues as well as a short story) chronicle the beginning adventures of Ace, Jack, Whitey, Rex, Pugsley, and their cat friend Orphan.   The story starts as the friends with the help of the Wise Dog, investigate why Jack’s dog house is haunted. 

 

                Apparently, Burden is the Sunnydale of the dog world because there is quite a bunch of weird things going on. 

 

                 Over the course of the first volume, the group of friends becomes wise dogs in training, guardians of the area, tasked to protect it.  Like most fiction involving super hero teens, owners (the de facto parents) are largely absent and a dog owner sometimes wonders what is going on with these people.  Yet, despite that wobble (and necessary plot hole.  To be fair, owners do make some appearances), the series is pretty darn good.

 

                In part, this is due to the dogs and cats remaining dogs and cats.  It is also because of the strength of the storytelling.  Animal Rites is in many ways, an origin sequence.  But the stories are heartfelt, and while not having the lecture footnotes of Atwood’s Angel Catbird series, the stories do comment on how we treat animals and each other in the world. 

 

                At first, the group is seeming to be entirely male, but female characters in the form of a dog and a cat are added.  In many ways, too, the dogs act like their respective breeds (though my Dobie was braver than Rex).  This isn’t a story for children, there is death of some pets (but not of the major characters), and the dogs sometimes are a bit, well, fierce.  It would be fair to say that the series is in part horror story from a dog point of view.  It actually remembers me a bit of Wayne Smith’s Thor.

 

                The issue Neighborhood Watch contains stories that are referred to in the later part of animal rites.  Included are a story about a chicken stealing goblin and a flock of strange sheep.  Honesty, the sheep story is one of the spookiest I’ve read in a long time.

 

                Hunters and Gatherers and Issue #0 seem to occur after Animal Rites.  Issue) details the story of one the cat characters in greater detail.  It is also a story about family.  IN the closing panels, you can easily see why the series has won awards.  Hunters is an adventure tale that does seem to change Watership Down in part.  The crossover with Hellboy is also very good, making Pugsley more than simply a downer.  It was both funny and touching.

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text 2017-07-13 04:39
Science Buddy Read Book Club coming soon!
Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind - Richard Fortey
Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home - Chris Woodford
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World - Mark Miodownik
The Science of Everyday Life - Marty Jopson
Rain: A Natural and Cultural History - Cynthia Barnett
The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science - Sandra Hempel
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat - Oliver Sacks
What Really Happens If You're Swallowed by a Whale, Get Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling Over Niagara...and Then You're Dead - Cody Cassidy,Paul Doherty
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Matin Durrani,Liz Kalaugher
My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs - Brian Switek

Our current buddy read of The Invention of Nature is going well enough that when it's finished, we're going to convert the book club into a general science buddy read club.

 

We definitely need a snappier name for it.

 

In the meantime, the current members are going through their shelves and coming up with possible titles for future reads; we'll likely read one book every two months, as non-fiction is generally a more time consuming read and we don't want to burn anyone out with too much of a good thing.  

 

I've gone through my Planning to Read shelf and shelved all the science books onto the science shelf (something I generally don't do until I've read the book - more out of laziness than anything else) and I've included a few here to see if any of them look interesting to anyone else, or are maybe already on their shelves.  

 

I have 16 all up; if anyone has any interest in seeing them all, I have confirmed that if you go to my shelves (or anyone else's for that matter) and click on Planning to Read, and then click on my Science shelf, you'll only see the Science books I have that I haven't yet read.  BookLikes has a bit of boolean searching power it's been keeping under its hat.

 

I've stuck with hard sciences (left out philosophy for example), but as a member of the group I'm open to interpretations.  

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review 2017-07-09 00:56
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny - Margaret Wise Brown,Clement Hurd

Genre:  Family / Imagination / Adventure / Love


Year Published: 1942


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers

Series: Over the Moon #1

 

Bunny


After I had read Margaret Wise Brown’s popular children’s book “Goodnight Moon,” I wanted to read more of Margaret Wise Brown’s works and I happened to stumbled upon another one of her popular works called “The Runaway Bunny,” along with artwork by Clement Hurd. “The Runaway Bunny” is a truly cute story about the love shared between a parent and child that children will enjoy!

The story starts off with a little bunny wanting to run away from home and when he told his mother about it, his mother just said that she will come running after him, no matter where the little bunny will run off to!

I must admit that I cannot believe that I waited this long to read this classic children’s story about a love shared between a parent and a child! Margaret Wise Brown had done a great job at conveying a mother bunny’s devotion to her child as she is always pledging to follow her child to the ends of the earth, whether the bunny wants to become a rock on a mountain or a sailboat to escape from his mother. I also enjoyed the soothing tone of this book as the story never felt too chaotic or intense when dealing with the little bunny’s desire to run away and I always felt good when the mother bunny tries to comfort her child by telling him that she will always love him no matter what. Clement Hurd’s artwork is truly gorgeous and creative to look at, especially when there are transitions between the black and white artwork and the colorful artwork. I loved the fact that the scenes where we get to see the imaginations of the little bunny running away from home in different and unique ways, is displayed in color as they make the situations stand out much more. My favorite image in the book would be the image of the mother bunny posing as the wind and blowing her child, who is a sailboat at this point, towards the destination she desires.

Bunny

The reason why I took off half a point from the rating was because even though the book is showing that the mother bunny truly does care for her child by following him to the ends of the earth whenever the little bunny runs away, I cannot help but feel like the mother bunny’s behavior comes off as a bit like a stalker as she would chase her child no matter where he goes. Just like Robert Munsch’s children’s book “Love You Forever,” while it is cute that the mother bunny cares enough for her child to chase him down across the earth, the whole “the mother bunny is going to catch her son no matter what” theme might be unsettling for some readers to handle.

Overall, “The Runaway Bunny” is a cute story about the power of love shared between a parent and their child that many children will enjoy for many years! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up, even though the stalker implications of the mother bunny might unsettle some readers.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-07-01 02:15
DEAR JANE by Marissa Clarke
Dear Jane (Animal Attraction #1) - Marissa Clarke
  Cute story. Jane is a mistake waiting to happen when it comes to dating. Eric is a fellow attorney who works at her family's law firm. She has him set her up for dates then debriefs with him. She is funny as she tells her stories. Both are attracted to the other but because of the non-fraternization clause in their contracts they cannot act upon the attraction. Chaos ensues as Jane continues her dates.

They are a cute couple. Jane's dream job is not the law nor is it beyond her reach. Her family should have supported her youthful dreams. Jane's dating stories are funny. The ending was different. I am surprised that Eric did not lose out on Jane.

I look forward to more in this series.
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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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