Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book 137: Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland

Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland, retold by Jon Scieszka, pictures by Mary Blair, Disney Press, 2008.  (Preschool/Early Elementary)

Usually any book with the name "Disney" in the title would cause me to run in the opposite direction.  I can tolerate Disney films for my son, but "re-told" Disney books generally leave me cold.  My one really huge exception is "Alice in Wonderland".  I own at least four copies of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", including an annotated version, and I've owned the Disney film in every incarnation:  VHS, DVD, BluRay.  I've watched it many, many times and for many, many years.  So when I saw this book with the story retold by Jon Scieszka and with pictures by Mary Blair.  I had to have it.   For me -- although, I will read it to my son.

Jon Scieszka first popped up on my children's books radar with his "Stinky Cheese Man."  He has stayed on my radar ever since, although, I've only recently learned how to pronounce his last name properly.  His writing, especially of retold fairy tales, manages feel both contemporary and timeless.  I could still hear Sterling Holloway's and Ed Wynn's voices when I read the story, but the dated parts that I (sometimes) fast-forward through in the movie have been given new life in this book.

It turns out that Mary Blair was a conceptual artist for almost all the Disney films that I will watch for the artwork:  Sleeping Beauty, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter Pan, Cinderella and, of course, Alice in Wonderland.  She managed a balance of dark and light in her illustrations that is perfect for fairy tales, and, really, pretty much any children's book.

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