Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Jon Scieszka and Mary Blair
|Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Jon Scieszka and Mary Blair|
|Category: Emerging Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Yes, this is Disney's Alice and not the one the author intended, but the crossover between the two inventive creators is served very well here.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: September 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
I'll take is as read you have some knowledge of the story of Alice in Wonderland – certainly when she got to be 150 years old a couple of years back there were no end of editions of her story. And as you know, 150 years is a heck of a lot of unbirthdays. But her story got to be slightly different, and if anything only more loved, courtesy of the Disney cartoon, and the fact that this book features artwork that was generated during the production of that film is the unique selling point.
Mary Blair was a long-time worker with the Disney animators and created so many images that they have managed to cobble together three whole books based mostly on her concept art for the classic cartoon movies. They don't go into cinematic detail here, being rough concepts, but they helped define the look, the feel and certainly the mood of things, whether it be the fall down the rabbit hole, the surreal tea party, or the ghostly Cheshire Cat grin.
What is better this time around, as opposed to the Peter Pan book also in this series, is that we get more character – whereas that one hardly featured any of the Darlings at all, and barely touched on Peter either, we definitely get Alice here. OK, she's the standard Alice – Tenniel-blue dress and, er, Alice band, but that's not a problem. We definitely do get to meet her, and what's more, we find some officiousness that is clear in just a glimpse or two of the White Rabbit, and some of the manic world – the Tweedles looking like Siamese twins, and so on.
What is also better here is that the style of the writing is defined to suit the original Carroll, as opposed to the adaptor's personal sense of humour. This retelling is not exactly in the style of the original, as it's definitely been made to please the very young reader, but it matches up perfectly the bizarre from both the Disney and the Carroll takes on things, making this pretty much a place for the two to meet in harmony. I still think there could be a case of needing the film to fully appreciate the book – the images are concept artworks, again, and it's clear they're not specifically illustrating these words, however carefully they may have been chosen. But for a picture book telling of this story, with or without the DVD, you cannot go far wrong.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
We were swamped with those 150-year editions at the time but survived to summarise them – including various young reader adaptations – here.
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