Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-A heartbreaking look at what it's like to live in a war zone. Inspired by true events, this story tells of four lions that escape from the Baghdad Zoo during a bombing raid in 2003 and encounter other animals that offer unique perspectives, such as a tortoise that survived World War I. They begin to question the nature of freedom. Can it be achieved without being earned? What is its price? What do the lions owe the zookeepers who took care of them at the cost of keeping them in captivity? Where should they go? What should they eat? The four lions soon realize that a desert city is nothing like the grassy savannas of their memories. Their experiences mirror those of the Iraqi citizens displaced by the conflict. The book succeeds as a graphic novel and as an account of the current crisis. Henrichon's full palette emphasizes browns and grays that evoke the sands of the country, while his long brushstrokes and careful attention to detail reflect the precise and minimalist dialogue that Vaughan uses. An allegorical tale with compelling and believable characters, Baghdad makes it clear that without self-determination, there can be no freedom-Erin Dennington, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

During an American bombing raid in 2003, four lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo. That true story is the basis for this excellent fable by Vaughan (Ex Machina; Runaways) and Henrichon in which the animals can talk to one another and discuss the relative merits of captivity and life in the wild. After they're unexpectedly freed, Zill, the alpha male; his one-eyed ex-lover, Safa; his current lover, Noor; and Noor's cub, Ali, must fend for themselves in an unfamiliar land: the ruined city. They discover dangers both man-made and-despite Noor's insistence that animals can rise above their baser natures-among their own kind. This graphic novel works as an adventure story; a meditation on the pursuit, the problems, and the meaning of freedom; and a thoughtful allegory about the war in Iraq, with every scene having a deeper subtext. Vaughan's lions, with distinctive and well-rounded personalities, inspire sympathy; Henrichon's animals are expertly rendered, and his coloring is lush (with some gore in the battle scenes). This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections.-S.R. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.