Posted in book review

‘Owl at Home’, by Arnold Lobel – book review

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We all have natural octaves for narratives of ourselves to speak in various notes and tempos. But Arnold Lobel’s is a fugue of loneliness, disappointment, sadness, and longing vested in the good-heartedness and geniality. ‘Owl at Home’ is Lobel’s ballad of melancholic warmth that sings his heart’s song.

This little book tells of an owl who lives alone in the treehouse. The owl has the comforts of life, from a comfy sofa to a pillowy bed and a beautiful teapot set, but not a life companion to speak. So the owl invites winter with a wide-open door, even if the wind sweeps over the house’s warmth rudely. But that’s not it. He makes tea from his tears of sad thoughts by pouring them into a jar. Hence his tea is named ‘tear-water tea.’ Oh, and yes, the lonely owl wants to befriend a moon that he regards too beautiful and lofty to be acquainted with. The melancholy ballad has such a simple loveliness that it touches the reader’s heart and transforms pathos into sympathy.

The book’s genre is officially and publicly children’s literature, but that doesn’t mean that readers aged beyond 18 years can’t. While reading the book, I kept associating the owl, the likable solitary owl, with the author and illustrator Lobel, whose life was also ended in a lonely man’s theme. Bullies tattered Lobel’s childhood at schools due to his weak disposition and shyness, which made him estranged from the crowd of life, being utterly unattached and felt unwanted and unfit for happiness. Likewise, the goodhearted but quixotic owl is Lobel himself at his saddest, loneliest, and paradoxically best because the truth about him lays bare through the narratives. The author’s beautiful illustrations delineate the shape of his heart that is warm and generous and move a feeling of pity for the dreadful solitude to a sense of love with a sound of mirth.

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Posted in Film Review

‘Tom and Jerry’ (2021) – film review

The cartoons of the olden days always had partners in acts. Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner, Tweedy and Sylvester, the Red-Beard and Bugs Bunny, etc., in the simulation of Laelaps’ eternal chase of the Teumessian fox in the constellation. But none of them are equal to Tom and Jerry in amicability of the characters and the epiphany of our human characteristics mirrored in the figures. Now the likable duo continues the natural chase one after another and together in the bustling and rustling Big Apple with their human accomplice.

Tom and Jerry foray into a cinematic excursion from a classic television show I used to watch as a child. The new cinema platform gives Tom and Jerry more room to chase and opportunities to mingle with different animal kingdom species, from humans of all kinds to high-class elephants. Thanks to the incredible 21-century technology, the lovable duo shakes hands with their human friends, blows raspberries to bullies, and skateboards through the bumper-to-bumper traffic to stop farewell. We see cute Jerry with a rucksack on his shoulders meeting his arch-friend-or-foe Tom, who’s thrilled to see the likewise at liberty park by the Hudson River overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan Skyline. Usually, the combined features of animated figures and live actors and actresses appear to be incongruent and buffoonish, not least because of the live performers’ exaggerated gestures out of synch with the animated choreography. But not Tom and Jerry. The result is the wondrous alchemy of the living and the animated, bringing the fictional characters, both humans and beasts, into a reality that blurs boundaries between the screen and the audience. What an experience!

Tom and Jerry are still in theaters and on HBO Max, through which I watched and enjoyed to my heart’s content with my tabby Toro, who looks more like Jerry than his kin Tom. It is a vibrant act of comedy on the foundation of humanity, which requires to be rekindled in our current time. Also, for those who grew up watching the classic Tom and Jerry on TV, the movie is a welcome nostalgia to wallow themselves in the memories, hopefully good, of the childhood when life seemed a little bit fun with ice cream in one hand before a TV set. Or for those born post-internet revolutions, the movie will spawn more fans of Tom and Jerry, the Great Comedians. What more can I say? It’s a feel-good movie with actions and romance that children of all ages can entertain and embrace with smiles.

Posted in Poetry

Lilt lullaby

The wind of shrill west rides

On the scarlet waves of sunset,

The sun sinks into the edges

Of the horizon in a soft silhouette,

The longing for the unknown

Mysterious, amorphous, gorgeous

Springs from the wings of Pegasus.