Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Zootopia”

Disney has long used animals to entertain us, but they also insert a subtle message or morals into their stories. Most of the time, it’s a simple message of being brave or learning that you have inner value and that your dreams can come true. Occasionally, the story can take on a deeper meaning that both children and adults can relate to and value. Zootopia is one of those films.

It is the story of a world where anthropomorphic animals evolved over time to where predators and prey now live in peace and harmony with each other. The animals in this world have jobs, just like regular people, but they’re more catered to their habitat and size. The animals in this world usually stick to their natural inclinations or temperaments most associated with the various species. This is not always the case, however, as we meet our protagonist: a rabbit by the name of Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin. Judy dreams of leaving her small town and becoming a cop and serving her fellow animals in the bustling metropolis of Zootopia. She is consistently regarded as inferior due to her size and species. Most police in this world are physically larger and brutish animals like lions, bears, and wolves. Judy, however, wishes to make her mark and earn the respect of her fellow officers.

Judy soon stumbles upon a sly fox named Nick Wilde, voiced by Jason Bateman. Nick is a professional con artist who has become disillusioned with his original hopes and dreams and has let himself become exactly what other animals always accused his nature of being. The two become unlikely partners and eventually friends due to a mysterious plot involving disappearing predatory animals and a more insidious agenda that could lead to chaos in Zootopia unless they can stop it.

This film tackles issues involving prejudice, bullying, and bigotry. It handles these issues in a very easy to understand way, becoming even tongue-in-cheek at times.  The lesson is simple and well-timed given our current social climate; Zootopia teaches that you should never prejudge someone based on their immutable characteristics, let alone an entire group.

Zootopia was extremely well received among audiences. It grossed over one billion dollars worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing animated films of all time. It also went on to receive an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Zootopia is a witty, PG-rated film for the whole family, and it is available at the Union University Library.

 

 

Top 5 Award-Winning Children’s Books

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The library strives to obtain award-winning children’s books for our Family Room. Education students and parents alike should have access to high quality stories for their kids. This list describes just a few of the best award-winners that the library has available.

*all descriptions courtesy of WorldCat*

Julie of the Wolves

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Author: Jean Craighead George

Award: Newberry Medal

Description: “While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.”

 

Jumanji

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Author: Chris Van Allsburg

Award: Caldecott Medal

Description: “Left on their own for an afternoon, two bored and restless children find more excitement than they bargained for in a mysterious and mystical jungle adventure board game.”

 

Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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Author: Mildred D. Taylor

Award: Newberry Medal

Description: “A black family living in Mississippi during the Depression of the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which its children do not understand.”

 

The Giver

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Author: Lois Lowry

Award: Newberry Medal

Description: “Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.”

 

Where The Wild Things Are

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Author: Maurice Sendak

Award: Caldecott Medal

Description: “Max, a naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.”

 

Autumn Story Time

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Are you a Union employee with a child or grandchild? Come join us for an Autumn Story Time at the library!

Back To School Story Time

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Story Time for Union children is back! Faculty and staff, bring your children and grandchildren to The Logos for a back-to-school story time on September 9th.

Featured Author: Jean Craighead George

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The author of such classic childhood favorites Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain was born on this day in 1919. Jean Craighead George was a reporter, author, and, above all, a nature-lover. George published over 100 novels during her writing career, most of them about and for children. Her research in Alaska inspired her Julie of the Wolves trilogy, the first book of which won the Newberry Medal, and George won over 20 different awards for her literature.

George died in May 2012 and was posthumously inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame in November 2016.

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The library holds several of George’s most famous works. They are located in the Family Room in the Logos. A complete list of the library’s holdings written by Jean Craighead George can be found here.

Mother’s Day Story Time

Union families should join us for our Mother’s Day Story Time! This will be the last story time of the semester. Be sure to thank Rachel Powers for her work as the storyteller!

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Easter Story Time

Union faculty and staff are invited to bring their children and grandchildren to our Easter Story Time, presented by Library Associate Rachel Powers!

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St. Patrick’s Day Story Time

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Union faculty & staff are invited to bring their children to a special St. Patrick’s Day story time this Saturday.

Valentine Story Time

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Are you a Union University faculty or staff member? If yes, do you have kids who love stories? The children of Union faculty and staff are invited to a special Valentine Story Time on February 4th. Library Associate Rachel Powers will be reading and providing crafts for the children in the library’s Family Room. *Parents are asked to stay in the room for the duration of the event.