Do You Love Animal Stories?
April 06, 2012
The day I walked up to a critter hanging out on my living room wall, totally intending to smash and dash it, and then ended up feeling like a combination of the wrong half of David and Goliath and a mean Gulliver, I knew I had crossed the line from animal appreciator to animal lover. The tiny, 3/8 inch spider braced itself and bravely threw up its front legs, quite ready to do battle with the oncoming threat. Good gravy! It wasn’t as big as my little fingernail. I took it outside, wondering if displaced spiders had difficulty adjusting and gave up trying to be reasonable about the whole thing.
Since then, I have embraced, with delight and enthusiasm, all the many wonderful animal stories I’ve encountered. Currently, several great reads have come or are coming out as movies and that can make for double the enjoyment.
First, there’s Benjamin Mee’s We Bought a Zoo, which is the story of a terrific personal endeavor and accomplishment that lost none of its warmth when it moved to California and came to the U.S. via Hollywood.
Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse is no different. This tremendous tale combines the emotional impact of My Friend Flicka, Black Beauty, and All Quiet on the Western Front, whether it’s read or viewed. And, gee, wouldn’t I just love to see the stage production!
Then, there is Vicki Myron’s (with Bret Witter) Dewey: the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. Read it, and you’ll be certain that every library, especially the one where you live, should have its very own cat. Merle Streep is scheduled to bring that wonderful story for us all to see sometime in the future. Oh, what joy! If you can’t wait, go to YouTube for some video.
While you’re looking there, do yourself a favor and check out Gwen Cooper and her book, Homer’s Odyssey. Here’s a story I’m not sure we’ll ever see on the big screen, but do watch Cooper’s Homer in action on the small one. This terrific animal biography is about Homer, a cat who like all cats was born blind, but was never able to see due to eye disease that struck him before he could open his eyes. The author lets us all know that Homer never misses a beat. He simply adapts to his surroundings. He learns to move around without running into anything. He climbs and explores even while not covering territory exactly as other cats do. He doesn’t catch bugs like other cats, but he does catch them. He stays very still, of course, and then, at just the right moment, he jumps straight up to nab them. With that anecdote and all the others included in the story, Cooper and Homer kept me amazed. In my humble opinion, this Homer’s Odyssey ranks right up there with every great animal story.