Tag Archives: animals

Cat Person/Dog Person, Pet Person?

Here’s something I never thought I’d say/type: I miss our cat. I’ve always been a dog person, though I never had one of my own, and I thought that when I finally had room for a pet in my life, it would be a dog. Enter my now-wife and her cat Loki, and I can see the appeal of the temperamental little murder machines. It probably helps that Loki’s personality is more dog-like, and he would sooner run from a mouse than kill it, but he’s grown on me, and having to leave him with a friend while we move/renovate has made me realize how true this is. While it can be irritating being trapped on the couch because Loki won’t get off my lap, maybe he’s just looking out for me and telling me to slow down a bit. So, while thinking of my own pet, I decided to highlight some items in our collections that focus on pets and their bonds with us1.

The cover of The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Thinking of Loki being far from home triggered a memory from my childhood, a memory of a golden retriever, bull terrier, and Himalayan cat trekking through the wilderness to find their owners. I’m aging myself here, as the movie came out in 1993, but I thought I’d search our catalogue for it anyway, and lo and behold, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is in our collection. I remember watching this one as a kid, then, as kids do, immediately re-watching it. After rewinding the VHS, of course. I have no nostalgia for that. Give me a DVD and the ability to instantly skip to any part of the film over having to wait for physical media to wind through spools any day. So, for those unfamiliar with the movie, it follows the three animals on their journey through the Sierra Nevada mountain range to find the family that they think abandoned them during a move… I’m glad Loki doesn’t have this kind of homing instinct. At least, I don’t think he does. He somehow knew the parking garage of the condo despite only ever being in it in his astronaut bag, though his does not look like a Pokeball. I’ll have to ensure he doesn’t try to bolt for “home” when we have him in the new house. Okay, no more side-tracks.

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I (Don’t) Like Snakes!

Nicola Davies Do you like snakes? Have you met The Dude (resident snake at Civic Centre Resource Library)? He’s adorable and is sure to change your mind about snakes, if your answer to the first question was “no”! If you’re not quite up to using exposure to get you over your fear of snakes, then maybe this book will do the trick: I (Don’t) Like Snakes by Nicola Davies (who is also the author of Poop, Tiny Creatures, Extreme Animals, and Just Ducks!, to name a few), illustrated by Luciano Lozano.

This is kind of an odd book, in that I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to fall within the picture book market or the junior non-fiction one, because while there’s a story to it and it’s definitely a book filled with illustrations, Davies also includes lots of information about snakes, from the way they move around to how they molt their skin. One thing’s for sure though: the illustrations are adorable. And! The moral of the story, I think, is not only that snakes are awesome, though they are (maybe in both the colloquial and traditional sense of the word, at that), but that sometimes, hatred stems from ignorance, and that’s a takeaway message filled with hope and a healthy dose of optimism, because that’s something we can take into our own hands – all the more so at the library!

I’m going to move onto a number of books about snakes so that once I (Don’t) Like Snakes starts up your curiosity for all things anguine, you’ll be able to whet your appetite with some of the following.

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Avian Matters: Corvidae

Willow DawsonHave I mentioned I really like corvids?* They’re such beautiful birds, and they seem to have a pretty bad reputation all around that I’m not sure they deserve. Sure, they can be a bit scary, especially when you’re encountering a murder of crows, since they can grow quite large individually and it seems all the more as a group, and they’re scavengers so sometimes you might see one hunkering down over roadkill and tearing it to pieces, but they’re also such smart birds! (Or perhaps that makes them even more terrifying?)

I’m going to start off with The Wolf-Birds, because this book truly shines in illustrating how wolves and ravens (can) form a symbiotic relationship that is mutually beneficial for both species, using text and illustration that likewise work together to tell the story. It’s a delightful picture book with beautiful illustrations and a truly lovely pace: the story ebbs and flows as the hunt continues for both the wolves and the ravens, showing how each animal plays its part in the natural progression of things. Willow Dawson completes the story with a page at the end with information about ravens and why they are also called wolf-birds, detailing the symbiotic relationship between wolves and ravens, where both groups benefit from the interaction, contrasted with parasitic situations where ravens simply steal from the wolves without giving back.

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