Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Niko Henrichon
Publication Date: 2006
The Short Version:
A fictionalized account of the true story of lions who escaped the zoo after the 2003 bombing of Baghdad.
Why I Read It:
Recommended highly (and repeatedly) by many of my friends.
From the publisher:
In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, Pride of Baghdad raises questions about the true meaning of liberation — can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?
Told by and from the viewpoint of the animals this is a beautifully told and illustrated story. The four lions who are the main characters all have distinct personalities. When their world they know in the zoo is suddenly changed so drastically the freedom they have wanted is granted. However in a city at war is a dangerous and desperate place for all of the zoo animals.
The artwork in this is simply beautiful despite the wartime setting.
The political allegory is pretty much what I’d expected and I knew what the final outcome would be so that didn’t come as a surprise either. The telling of the story through the animals both worked and yet didn’t work for me. At some points it felt like bits and pieces of both The Lion King and the Madagascar movies. The anthropormorphizing of the animals at times went a bit too far into humans they represent in the allegory but overall it was still a good book.