A short review for a short book!
At 87 pages (small pages at that) it took me about 2 hours to read this. It tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull who only cares about flying; the higher and faster the better. His refusal to act like the other seagulls and spend his day scrounging around for scraps causes him to be cast out of the group. Hurt but determined to follow his passion, he keeps flying.
The whole book is full of metaphors for the usual trials we all face in life; not fitting in because you are different, finding the strength to follow your dreams, not accepting failure, forgiving people who have wronged you etc etc. It’s an inspirational little read but I must admit I thought it was a bit strange. The writing style is almost biblical, at some points I felt like I was reading a religious story. I also thought I was a bit too old for it (how depressing I’m only 23!) and I would have enjoyed it much more if I had first read it as a child.
The photographs in the book are taken by Russel Munson and I thought they added a lot to it.
Personally I wouldn’t have much respect or admiration for seagulls, I generally associate them with squawking, pooping and ruining peaceful sunbathing experiences! Still I’m sure children wouldn’t have these preconceptions in their way so it’s not hard to see why it has become such a well loved children’s classic.
‘I AM DAVID’ was first published in 1963 and was originally titled ‘North to Freedom‘. It tells the story of a young boy who escapes from a concentration camp in Bulgaria and then begins a slow and difficult journey to his home in Denmark. Although it has been 10 years or more since I first read it, the book has always stuck in my mind.
Immediately after escaping David does not seem to have the strength or the motivation to continue. Meeting some colourful characters in Italy and seeing the breathtaking landscapes makes David want to survive again. With a new lease of energy he heads off on the second leg of his trip and by the time he walks into his mother’s house in Denmark he is so exhausted that all he is able to say is ‘I am David, I am David’. Great read!
What a pretty little book! Although it is a children’s classic, I re-read it only recently and it certainly hadn’t lost its charm. The story is about Winnie Foster; a little girl who is being smothered in her strict home surrounded by iron gates. When the opportunity arises to escape she runs into the surrounding forest where she meets Jesse Tuck drinking some water from a spring. As the book goes on we learn that the spring grants the gift of immortality to anyone who drinks from it. In an attempt to convince Winnie of the importance of keeping the spring a secret, Jesse brings her back to his home where we meet the rest of the family.
The book has an interesting and slightly more complicated storyline than is expected for most children’s books. It raises a lot of deep moral issues about mortality which would go right over children’s heads but means the book is still interesting for adults. If you need to get a present for a child it’s a sure winner, but maybe for those aged 10+. Give it a read before you wrap it up, they’ll never know!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
It’s not surprising that Mark Twain is not only famous as an author but also for his quotations. The one above is my favourite because I love to sail. I am now in my final year of college and a lot of people have started asking me ‘what am I going to do?’. What I would really like to say is the above quote but usually I just say something like ‘Im not sure yet, I’m looking into internships’ yawn!
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is his most famous novel, argued, to this day as one of America’s greatest works. First published in 1884 it was a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and tells the story of Huck Finn, a young, rogue vagabond who runs away from his abusive, alcoholic father. At 15, I think I was at a pretty fitting age to read this for the first time. While long and slightly tedious at times it is well worth the effort. Twain perhaps feared his book being so successful because in his opinion a ‘classic’ is a book which people praise and don’t read and I think this is true. Prove him wrong and pick it up!
A few months ago I was home alone on a Friday night with nothing on TV so I went rooting through the DVD collection where I found ‘Miss Potter’. The movie was released in 2006 and is the most recent of countless adaptations about Beatrix Potter‘s life.
Beatrix was the author and illustrator of the famous ‘Peter Rabbit’ children’s books. The film was actually really sweet and easy to watch, exactly what I was in the mood for that night and I especially liked it because growing up I loved Peter Rabbit! How could I have forgotten all about Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail?? After watching the movie I went online to watch the old TV episodes of the books and so my love for Peter Rabbit was revived 🙂
The stories are pretty basic. Peter lives with his family in his little burrow in the woods. The funny thing is that his burrow is fully decked out with a proper human-style kitchen, sitting room and bedrooms. The rabbits also wear little shoes and coats which are completely impractical and are constantly falling off and getting caught on things. Anyone who read the books or watched the programme growing up probably remembers the original story the best.
In ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’, Peter disobeys his mother and sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s garden where he eats so many vegetables he makes himself sick. When he eventually decides to head home he can’t find his way out and is getting hopeless when Mr. McGregor spots him. He is chased around for ages, desperately looking for the gate and along the way loses his shoes and coat (big surprise!) while shouting “I don’t want to end up like Papa! I don’t want to be put in a pie!” How frickin’ cute is that like?! When he eventually makes it out he heads home where his mother berates him before putting him to bed with a cup of camomile tea..awh!
While I’m not going to rush out and buy the books just yet they would be a perfect present for a little person and watching the episodes is just as good for me really. Here’s the link if you want to have a look yourself 🙂