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Font to Film: "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Typically when a book is adapted for the screen the general tone and thematic content remain the same, even if specific events or characters are shuffled around. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a rare exception to this rule. Originally a children’s book written in 1970 by Roald Dahl, it was adapted to film by Wes Anderson nearly forty years later—and anyone who is familiar with Anderson’s other works will be unsurprised with how his version turned out.

Roald Dahl’s story is fairly straightforward: Mr. Fox makes his living by stealing chickens and other delicacies from three local farmers who despise him as a result. The farmers begin to hunt Mr. Fox, who must use his fantastic wit to protect his family and the other inhabitants of the forest. Bearing in mind that this is a book for children, there are still a couple of pretty strong themes present which merit some discussion. For instance, while Dahl’s farmers are presented as disgusting, vindictive men clearly destined to be the antagonists of any narrative, the fact remains that Mr. Fox is, at the end of the day, a thief. Concerns over whether glorifying such a lifestyle is appropriate for a young audience tend to be dismissed on the grounds that stealing is not, in fact, all that bad if it is a.) done to feed one’s family and b.) the victims are bad people. But Fantastic Mr. Fox is also a book about obsession, specifically on the part of the farmers, whose actions not only drive the plot but solidify their position as corrupt—or at least corruptible—characters. From a child’s perspective, it’s easy to see that they are villains, and to believe that villains deserve to be bested by heroes as clever and capable as Mr. Fox.
It should be mentioned right off the bat that Wes Anderson’s version of Fantastic Mr. Fox expands the narrative substantially, taking a children’s book of under a hundred pages and turning it into a fairly intricate and frantically-paced comedy. A simple example of this expansion is the portrayal of Mr. Fox—voiced by George Clooney—as a far more complex character, one who struggles to support his family while wrestling with an overblown sense of pride. Anderson interprets the book’s title ironically; Mr. Fox is less fantastic than flawed, leaving room for a significant transformation that simply wasn’t present in Dahl’s version. The supporting characters are fleshed out as well; Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) is no longer one-dimensionally unwavering in her devotion to her husband, and the four fox children are replaced by one brooding son and a curiously-enlightened nephew. Overall, the plot is the same: Mr. Fox makes his living stealing from three farmers who make it their mission to eradicate him and his family from their property. However, the addition of several new scenes and a more fleshed-out cast allows for the exploration of a few additional themes, such as coming to terms with one’s nature and intrinsic value while trying to develop a place in the world relative to those around you—be they friend or foe. 

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library as part of the second-floor juvenile fiction collection. Wes Anderson’s film version is available at several branches of the Ventura County Library; if the book or DVD is not on the shelf at your local branch, you can request for it to be delivered to the branch of your choosing in person, over the phone, or online through our catalog.

 

Released into the wild by Ronald Martin.

Eastern and Western Perspectives on Health and Well-being

Visit the Topping Room on April 16, 2014, for the next installment of the E.P. Foster Library and CSU Channel Islands Lecture Series!

This event will feature a talk by Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez, who will examine happiness and well-being from Eastern and Western perspectives.

The talk begins at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Ojai Library Presents Author John Mulhall

Author John Mulhall will read

from his debut novel

Geddy's Moon

Ojai Library

Saturday April 26, 2pm. 

Geddy's Moon was named one of the best horror

novels of 2013 in Suspense Magazine!

 

Mariachis and More at Avenue Library

    Celebrate

El Dia de los Ninos y el Dia de los Libros at Avenue Library

Tuesday April 29

3 - 5pm

Patty Peinado will read stories.

There will be crafts and snacks.

Los Mariachis de Anza will perform at 4pm.

 

The Month of the Military Child

In 1986, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger designated each April as “The Month of the Military Child” to celebrate the contributions and inspiration of military children. There are approximately two million military children ranging in age from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. April is a time to acknowledge the strength and resilience of children who grow up in a unique and often changing environment and to reinforce that the health and well-being of military children contributes to the strength of our Armed Forces as a whole.

As the daughter of a lifetime Army veteran, I know how challenging, as well as rewarding, it can be to grow up as an “Army Brat.” We only saw our extended family in between deployments, if we had enough time. The longest time I ever lived in any one place was three-and-a-half years. I attended three different high schools in three years. This was “normal” for us. I look at the photos from my childhood and I see loving parents who did their best to create a home, no matter where we lived. As long as we were together, we were home.

Military children have a unique heritage and may not always understand civilian life. When asked about our “hometown” we may choose a location where we particularly enjoyed living, the place we lived the longest, or one of our parents’ hometowns. Today’s military children have different dilemmas to deal with than when I was growing up. My mom was a WAC, but she left the service when she married my dad. Today, many military children may have both parents in the service.

Ventura County is home to two military bases, Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station and Port Hueneme Navy Base. There are many families who make use of our libraries, including E.P. Foster. We have a number of materials available that focus on military children and their families.

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

April Staff Picks!

    Each month, our staff sends in a list of their favorite books, DVDs, and children's materials they recommend.

See something you like? When viewing the list, click on the "Check Library Catalog" link to be taken directly to our catalog. Then, sign in and place a hold request to have the item brought to your local library for pick up!

Can't remember to check the list? You can sign up to receive this and many other book recommendation lists directly into your email box at our "Newsletter & Booklists" page found under Special Interests (on the left side of this page) > Books & Reading > Staff Picks.

Enjoy!

2014 WordFest at the Ojai Library

 

2014 Ojai WordFest

Ojai's Literary Festival

April 10 - 14 [Event Flyer]

 Eight FREE Events at Ojai Library

All WordFest events described at ojaiwordfest.com

Haiku Poetry Contest @ Foster Library

Come celebrate National Haiku Day with E.P. Foster Library by entering our Haiku Poetry Contest! You can enter at the library or by visiting this link between April 2 and April 16.

Entries should follow the traditional haiku structure: three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. There will be prizes for the winners! Call or visit the library for more details.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winners!

Book Appetit: Sunflowers on the Square

Join us at E.P. Foster Library on Saturday, April 5, in the Topping Room for our next Book Appetit event!

The owner of Sunflowers on the Square, a local Ventura bakery, will be at the event to provide tips on creating delicious treats as well as give a live baking demonstration!

It all starts at 5 p.m. Call or visit the library for details!

Ojai Library Temporary Closure

 

 

Ojai Library will be closed Thursday April 3

through Sunday April 6.

Book drops will be open and emptied daily.

New carpeting is being installed in the library.

Questions? call 646-1639

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