Three on a Theme: Animal Comics

Animals often figure prominently in comic strips and graphic novels, but the ways in which they are represented and the roles they play in telling a story vary greatly across genres and the works of different authors. Often, animals in the comics genre exist mainly for comedic relief, representing cartoon caricatures or anthropomorphisms that tell us more about human beings than they do about the animal they are representing. Here are three graphic novels where animals are represented in a different way – as narrators, protagonists, or silent companions.

The Rabbi’s Cat by Jonathan Sfar
This is a gorgeous tail about humanity, religion, and… cathood… that takes place in 1930s Algeria and is imbued with a healthy dose of magical realism. The protagonist is a cat belonging to the daughter of a rabbi, who accidentally acquires the power of speech after eating a parrot. Now able to communicate with humans, the cat asks the rabbi for an education and to begin practicing Judaism, sparking a theological debate about whether or not a cat can be Jewish. This novel is beautifully illustrated, with bright colors, warm landscapes, and lively, dynamic characters (both human and non-human alike). The story deftly explores themes of what it means to have a religion, what it means to have a friend, and what it means to coexist in relationship with others. Continue reading “Three on a Theme: Animal Comics”

Oh, doggone it!

Dogs can completely change the way we feel—for the better. They are funny, loving, and intelligent. Canine companions live in an estimated 63 million U.S. homes, so it’s no wonder stories, movies, and videos featuring dogs have always been big hits. Let’s not forget our own local legend, the public-transit-riding dog, Eclipse, who rides the bus throughout Seattle (except during quarantine, of course). Today, we are going to look at three dog-related titles that highlight the amazing lives of dogs and those who live with, rely on, and love them.

The Art of Racing in the Rain book cover imageThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This is one of those stories, told through the eyes (and voice) of a dog, that simply works. Enzo is a dog who sees the world for what it is and would love to speak his mind directly to those around him, but cannot. However, we are lucky enough to get an inside look at his joys and frustrations surrounding the life of his human family. Publisher’s Weekly notes: “Stein’s tale of family, loss, redemption, and fast cars—recounted entirely from the perspective of a retriever-terrier mix named Enzo—ups the ante on the recent trend of high-concept anthropomorphism in popular fictions.” Continue reading “Oh, doggone it!”

I am now a Dog Owner and Lover

~posted by Marion

In 2012, 34.5% of U.S. households owned 36,117,000 cats and 36.5% owned 43,346,000 dogs. These figures come from the American Veterinary Medical Association. That’s a lot of us with Felis catuses and domesticated canids. As of this summer, I joined the latter group after my family adopted two rescue dogs; coming to us already named Kate and Diana, one outgoing and the other shy. Quite a change since I grew up with two cats and occasional litters of kittens, then owned two cats in my younger adult years. Here are some titles to help those of us new or interested in the world of dogs and their behaviors, needs and lifestyles. Continue reading “I am now a Dog Owner and Lover”

The Best Nap of the Year …

— by Ann G.             

… is, of course, the nap after Thanksgiving dinner!  Most of us believe it’s because we are at the mercy of the chemical tryptophan, which is found in turkey, milk and quite a few other foods.  Apparently, it’s more likely that it’s the piled-high plates than the turkey itself that make us sleepy, but it’s still interesting to do a little research about the soporific qualities of this naturally-occurring drug.  Let’s take a little journey through the library’s databases, shall we?

Continue reading “The Best Nap of the Year …”

Do you speak dog?

Picture of a dog's nose in closeup.Do you have dog friends? You know, the ones that didn’t have kids, they had dogs instead? Yep, I’m one of those.  We don’t mean to drive you crazy with our stories about how smart, funny and devoted our dogs are or how recalcitrant, devious, and amusing they can be. Those of us owned by dogs have long known how smart dogs are and we now have science to prove it.  Animal behaviorists and trainers are learning more and more about how complex the human/dog relationship really is and here’s the kicker…we’re not the amazing part in that duo!  Here are three books that will give you some insight, not just into dogs, but those pesky, dog-loving friends of yours:   Continue reading “Do you speak dog?”