by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
Based on a true incident during the Iraq War, this graphic novel illustrates what happens to a group of lions when the zoo is hit by bombs and the wild animals escape. The story is brief; the lions only wander for a short time before encountering soldiers, but the strength of the book is in their characters. And in the amazing illustrations. The animals are drawn so life-like and expressive. I must have gone back through the book two or three times just to look at the pictures. It\’s one I want to add to my own shelves someday. Ah, back to the tale: so the lions all have different personalities and perspectives; some are cautious, others remember their days in the wild with nostalgia; the cub is just in awe of every new thing he sees. The animals are bewildered by the chaos and novelties they encounter outside the zoo, also the uncertainty of their plight: who will feed them? they attempt hunting but aren\’t practiced at it, or get interrupted by bombs falling. They meet other animals: a turtle who remembers a previous war, a band of horses, antelope and baboons also escaped from the zoo, and in the end a huge bear (apparently some rich person\’s pet?) who battles the male of the pride. The ending is very sad and feels abrupt: I would have liked to walk in these lions\’ footsteps longer. It definitely gets across the message of how wasteful and horrific war is. Not a book for children: there are graphic scenes of animals getting hit by bombs and gunfire, there are moments when the lions mate, there is plenty of blood and violence. The orange color palette is very striking; it\’s not a color scheme I really like but it worked excellently in this case. And did I say the pictures are beautiful? for all their violence and disturbing depictions. they are beautifully drawn.
This was wonderful. I\’m glad my library had a copy.
Rating: 4/5 ……… 136 pages, 2006