- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Steven Spielberg's most recent film, War Horse, is a grand Hollywood epic that depicts the losses and agony of war in a sweeping historical drama. Though the film stays true to the plot of the 1982 young adult novel on which it's based, the book and movie are sharply different in tone and mood. The film boasts Spielberg's signature lush cinematography, stirring musical score, and high drama.
The book, on the other hand, is a small, simple tale that approaches the same subject in its own original way. The book is narrated by the horse Joey, whose innocence and loyalty carry him from his early years as the beloved companion to English farmboy Albert, to the muddy trenches of World War I, after he is sold to the British army by Albert's destitute father. Part of the beauty of the book is seeing the events unfold through the horse's eyes, as he finds kindness and cruelty on both sides of the battlefield. Middle school and high school teachers might want to initiate discussions with their students, comparing the two very different treatments of the themes of war, loss, and the bond between man and horse.
For a third take on this story, theater lovers can look forward to the summer arrival in the Bay Area of the award-winning Broadway production.
Listen to an excerpt from the novel read by the author by selecting this LINK. War Horse is number 17 in the list of audio files.
Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy is an excellent YA series for fans of alternate history or the steampunk genre. Taking place during World War I, the books pit the British Darwinists (who use fabricated animals as their weapons and vehicles) against the German Clankers (with futuristic machines). At the center of the story are two young people: Deryn Sharp, a midshipman in the British service who has been forced to disguise her identity and present herself as a boy, and Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand, an Austrian royal on the run from the very same people that murdered his father, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, at the start of the war. When the Darwinists' new flying whale ship, the Leviathan, crash lands near Aleksandar's hideout, Deryn and Alek meet for the first time and their stories become intertwined.
Westerfeld, who also wrote the popular YA series Uglies, has created a unique alternate history and through his well written characters he keeps the story fascinating and engaging. The first book Leviathan was recently followed up by the sequel Behemoth, and according to Westerfeld's website, a third book titled Goliath should be released in October 2011.