January 9, 2014

[Book Review] True Tales of Animal Heroes by Allan Zullo


Would you believe that some animals have saved people's lives? In this fascinating book, you'll read about:
  • the brave dog who rescued two kids from a burning house
  • two wild elk who saved a boy from freezing in the mountains
  • the courageous cat who fought off a deadly intruder
  • two dolphins who saved a girl from a terrifying shark attack
  • and much more!
If you like animal stories, you'll be amazed by these incredible true tales.



I hated the last animal-themed Allan Zullo anthology I read; titled Haunted Animals: True Ghost Stories, it was a truly terrible book. (My review can be found here.) It bugged me in just about every way possible: the stories focused almost exclusively on negative and/or violent interactions between the human characters and the other animals, the writing was overdramatic and contrived, and in spite of the book's subtitle, the introduction flat-out admitted that the stories were not in fact true, but were instead merely "inspired in part by" actual events.

You know; kinda like how Pocahontas was the "true story" of Matoaka/Rebecca Rolfe.
True Tales of Animal Heroes is much the same in those last two respects; the introduction states that "Although the heroic incidents are true, the dialogue and situations have been dramatized and certain names and events have been changed," and Zullo's writing is just as unbelievably melodramatic... but Animal Heroes wins over Haunted Animals merely because the stories themselves are significantly less depressing. Whereas Haunted Animals is a book primarily about animals supposedly seeking supernatural revenge on their abusers (with a few rare cases of less disturbing stories), Animal Heroes is a book celebrating compassion between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom.

Young animal lovers should get a kick out of the stories, though parents might want to emphasize the dramatization aspect of the book and supplement it with some actual cases of animal heroism*.

*That particular article is on a comedy website that contains material you, uh, won't want to show young children.



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