Another book review blog?!?

Yes because people ask "Have you read anything good lately?" And I have. From a class ...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

earth - Alternative format, DVD

Title: earth 
Author: Martin Elsbury (editor)
Production/Bibliographic Information: AV/DVD. Disney Nature and Discovery Channel.  2009.  90 minutes.
Directed/ Performed by: Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (directors); James Earl Jones (narrator).
Part of a Series: Maybe- oceans is the second film released by the Disney Nature label (on Earth Day 2010); also released Crimson Wing- The Mystery of the Flamingo (straight to video); African Cats will be released Earth Day 2011.
Book tie-in: No- but this movie was made in part to preserve the legacy of Walt Disney, who believed nature provides the best plots and characters.
Subject Heading(s):
  • Animals
  • Birth
  • Death
  • Documentary films-video recordings (MLS)
  • Elephants
  • Environment
  • Feeding
  • Humpback Whales
  • Migration
  • Nature
  • Polar Bears
  • Predator/Prey
  • Seasons
Plot Summary: This is a nature documentary that covers one year of life in the wild across various environments on the planet.  The primary families chronicled are polar bears, elephants, and humpback whales, although the viewer meets many other animals along the way.  Life and death, young animals’ early lessons, and facts about the environment and natural cycles are included.
Appeal: This movie covers a broad topic with compassion and some humor.  It is visually stunning and musically compelling.  The narrator sounds warm, inviting, and knowledgeable.   
Features: The making of the movie bonus feature; optional English subtitles; optional Spanish and French audio and subtitles.
Prizes or Awards: BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)- Best Director- Factual (Nominated 2008); Bogey Awards, Germany (Won, 2008); Golden Screen, Germany (Won, 2008).  *Info from
Similar Works: March of the Penguins, 2005, Warner Bros. (nature documentary film, one year in lives of penguins- Cyndi); An Inconvenient Truth, 2006, Lawrence Bender Productions (environmental; Great Migrations, 2010, National Geographic (television miniseries documentary featuring various animals-Cyndi); other Disney Nature documentaries (Cyndi).
Reviewer’s Name: Cyndi Selinger

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Pride and Prejudice - Alternative Format, Graphic novel

Title: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen, adapted by Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus (illus)
Bibliographic Information: Graphic Novel. Marvel Illustrated; 2009; unpaged
Part of a Series: Yes, Marvel Illustrated. Several classic stories, (Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island, Moby Dick etc.) adapted into a graphic novel format
Book tie-in: Based on the book Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Subject Headings:
  • Courtship
  • Family
  • Graphic novel adaptation
  • Interclass romance
  • Jane Austen
  • Marriage
  • Marvel Comics
  • Men/women relations
  • Misunderstandings
  • Mr. Darcy
  • Nineteenth century
  • Sisters
  • Social classes -- England -- History -- 19th century
  • Social scandal
  • Young women
Plot Summary: Embark on a visual journey of Austen’s “hate to love” romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy is a solemn, proud, and brooding man who accompanies his friend Mr. Bingley to a ball. There they meet the Bennet family and as they keep their acquaintance, Mr. Bingley pursues Jane Bennet while Mr. Darcy’s own quiet affections for Elizabeth unknowingly grow. Social and family pressures wedge between the couples and unfortunately, Elizabeth’s own feelings for Mr. Darcy suffer because of misinformation and misunderstanding. However, as the two are continually obliged to meet in many social situations they eventually discover the truth about themselves and love for each other.
Appeal: Style/language: a mixture of original sounding Austen language and simple, concise language of graphic novels; old fashioned artistically with shades of muted brown cool tones. Storyline: familiar; condensed
Characters: familiar; character driven; drawn fashionably while remaining close to the period
Mood: humorous; romantic; serendipitous; old fashioned with new twist
Pacing: the visual story reads fluidly however reading the text can slow the pace
Setting: Regency society May appeal to those who are reluctant to read Austen, and younger men may find the format appealing.  
Features: Introduction by adaption author and the five original cover arts of the comic book publication
Prizes or Awards: None
Similar Works:
  • Jane Eyre the graphic novel by Bronte, Corzine, Sanders (etc) with Classical Comics: Classical Literature adapted to graphic novel; England; love story; interclass relations (suggested by reviewer)
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies the graphic novel by Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith, Tony Lee, and Cliff Richards: graphic novel of an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (suggested by reviewer)
  • Sense and Sensibility the graphic novel by Austen, Butler, and Sonny Liew with Marvel Illustrated: same authors (both original and adaptor); Austen adaptation in a graphic novel format; England; Regency romance (suggestion by reviewer)
Reviewer’s Name: Julia Robinson

Pride and Prejudice (Marvel Classics) 

Form adapted from Fiction Annotation Form in Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn - Alternative Format, Graphic Novel

Author/Illustrator: Meredith Gran
Title: Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn
Publication Date: 2010, originally self-published on website
Number of Pages: 252
Part of a Series: Not yet, but a second volume is planned
Subject Heading(s):
  • Alternative comics
  • Amazon
  • Artistic
  • Birds
  • Brooklyn
  • Comic strip
  • Feral parrot
  • Friendship
  • Graphic novel
  • Independent comics
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Living alone
  • New York
  • Novelist
  • Review
  • Roommates
  • Single women
  • Stoner
  • Webcomic
  • Weed
Geographical Setting/Time Period: Brooklyn, NY, current time
Main Character(s):
  • Everest Ning, an angry, nerdy young woman, bedeviled by her suspicion that she is a loser
  •  Hanna Thompson, cheerful easygoing stoner, somewhat of a slacker and Eve’s roommate
Plot Summary: Out of college and trying to make sense of life as an adult, Eve and her roommate Hannah navigate the day-to-day routine of life in Brooklyn. Eve has a job at an organic market; Hannah makes pastries for the same enterprise. The girls revolve around each other through problems with boyfriends, lifestyles and making enough to live on. A feral parrot and a house cat named Manuel help round out the episodes depicted in this collection of 2 years worth of adventures.
Appeal: The storyline is character driven and fast-paced. The characters are funny; the drawing is quirky but showing attention to the detail that is necessary for effective story-telling. The episodes are logical in their ordering within the collection.
Brief quote: “Times have changed, Eve. Stoners are a clean, industrious people, some of the most discerning, provocative minds of our time.” (155)
Prizes or Awards: None found
Similar Works:  
  • Dykes to Watch Out For: The Sequel by Alison Bechdel. Graphic novel that focuses on interpersonal relations between funny characters. (Novelist)
  • Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz. Graphic novel that illustrates the life of 20 somethings in New York City. (Amazon)
Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa

 Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn
Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Love's Unending Legacy - Alternative Format, TV Movie

Title: Love’s Unending Legacy
Author: Janette Oke (novel) and Pamela Wallace (teleplay)
Production/Bibliographic Information: <Movie>. Alpine Medien Productions, Larry Levinson Productions, RHI Entertainment; April 7, 2007; 84 mins.
Directed/ Performed by: Mark Griffiths
Part of a Series: Yes, it is #5 in the Love Comes Softly series.
Book tie-in: Based on the novel Love’s Unending Legacy by Janette Oke.
Subject Heading(s):
  • Adoption (AMM)
  • Christian films (AMM)
  • Drama films (PLS)
  • Film adaptations (PLS)
  • Pioneer life (AMM)
  • Single parent (AMM)
  • Western films (PLS)
  • Widow (AMM)
Plot Summary: Missie LaHaye and her son Mattie go to live in her parents’ town of Tettsford Junction after Missie’s husband is killed. Moved by God, Missie decides to adopt a troubled teenage orphan named Belinda, who tests both her faith and her strength. Eventually, Missie is able to show Belinda and her brother Jacob the meaning of love and family with the help of the townspeople and God. At the same time, Missie learns she can move forward in her life and find happiness again while still honoring her late husband. 

Appeal: This is a touching and heartwarming Christian story about moving forward while honoring the past. The movie unfolds at a leisurely pace and is very character driven, focusing on the hardships single parents face. The acting is convincing and the characters prove to be empathetic and inspiring. This story takes place in the mid-late 1800’s and features beautifully rustic scenery. Those who enjoy western novels and/or movies would enjoy the setting of this movie. There is a strong Christian message throughout the movie of faith, perseverance and forgiveness, which would appeal to viewers searching for a religious and moral movie.

Features: This movie comes with a “trailers feature” that allows you to view trailers for the other movies in the series.

Prizes or Awards: It won two Camie Awards for Character and Morality in Entertainment and one Camie nomination for Young Artist in 2008. Camies are awarded to movies with “character and morality” (

Similar Works:  
  • Love's Unfolding Dream: next movie in the Love Comes Softly series (AMM); 
  • Sarah Plain and Tall: pioneer life, adoption, widower, gentle, family-oriented (AMM).
Reviewer’s Name: Ashley Miller

Love's Unending Legacy 

Form adapted from Fiction Annotation Form in Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Freedom - Alternative Format, Audiobook

Title:  Freedom
Author:  Jonathan Franzen
Production/Bibliographic Information: Audio CD, BBC Audiobooks America, 2010, 19 discs, 1500 minutes
Directed/ Performed by: Read by David Ledoux
Part of a Series:   No.
Book tie-in: An unabridged recording of Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

Subject Heading(s):
  • Domestic Fiction
  • Dysfunctional Families
  • Environmentalism
  • Family Relationships
  • Husband and Wife
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Literary Fiction
  • Love Triangles
  • Neighbors
  • Political Fiction
  • Rock Stars
  • Sexuality
  • Self-discovery
  • Self-fulfillment
Plot Summary: In this sweeping family saga, politically correct Walter and Patty Berglund have the best of intentions.  Walter, a dutiful, hardworking, and idealistic attorney marries the wishy-washy Patty, a college basketball star.  They live in St. Paul and raise two children, Joey and Jessica.  Patty takes to house-wifery with the same kind of competition and aggression that she applied to her sports career.  In the middle of his high school years, independent and defiant Joey leaves the family to move in with his girlfriend next door and her Republican, uncultured parents.  Devastated Patty is left depressed and soon finds herself obsessed with Walter’s best friend, a sexy rock star.  Despite their desire to be perfect, the Berglund family begins to unravel.

Appeal: Fans of literary fiction will be intrigued by this realistic portrait of modern American middle-class life.  Although the characters are not always sympathetic, readers will relate the problems the Berglunds face.  Franzen often takes a comic tone and tackles much of the hypocrisy and entanglement of modern politics.

Features: The narrator, David Ledoux does an excellent job narrating this complex book.  He creates different voices for the different characters (including women) without sounding silly.
Prizes or Awards: Starred review from BookList, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly.  Chosen for Oprah’s book club. The New York Times called Freedom “A masterpiece of American fiction.”

Similar Works: We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates is another saga of a middle class family in crisis.  Little Children by Tom Perrotta focuses on a group of suburban parents whose quiet lives are disturbed by infidelity and the arrival of a sex-offender.  White Noise by Don DeLillo also portrays the absurdity of middle class life.  (All suggestions from NoveList.)

Reviewer’s Name: Julia McConnell

 Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)