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this week's library book

We stumbled upon this new version of Alice in Wonderland while at the library last week. Though I love Lewis Carroll's original Alice, it's nice to have a short version that can be read before bed. (And even nicer when the abridgement is done by Jon Scieszka.)

The real star of this book is the artwork of Mary Blair. When Disney decided to make a movie based on Carroll's book, Mrs. Blair was asked to do the concept illustrations for the film. (She also worked on the movies for Peter Pan and Cinderella, and created the characters in It's a Small World before leaving Disney to work as a graphic designer.)

After hearing about the lack of women at Walt Disney in 1938, I wonder what is was like for Mary to work in such a "boys club". She joined the company in 1940, and her husband worked in the animation department already, which must have helped.

Apparently Walt grew to be a big fan of Mrs. Blair, specifically her use of color. It's such a treat to see these original concept drawings and compare them to the final film. You can see how clearly the animators followed her lead.

I guess I can just cross my fingers and hope that Disney will consider releasing more of Mary Blair's work. (Can I put in a request for Peter Pan next? Pretty please?)

Note: Looks like they already have released a version of Mary Blair's Cinderella!

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Reader Comments (29)

There's a book celebrating Mary Blair, entitled "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair," which I just looked at the other day. It was published in 2003, and is by John Canemaker!

08.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

What a stunning book!

08.20.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkate

Thank you for sharing this. I consider myself a Disney enthusiast, but I had not heard of Mary Blair. It looks like you got your wish, Peter Pan is being released in Oct.
Peter Pan

08.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTonya


I love that you can elaborate on the history behind books. I'm such a huge fan of early Disney, both the graphics and content. Thanks for bringing my FAVORITE of all the Disney stories to life--and Mary to the limelight.


08.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Halatokoua

Ditto! We have grabbed the same library books about a zillion times now. Too weird! We also loved, "Not a stick" and "Little Blue and Little Yellow" "ABC NYC" and "Nutcracker." My favorite book this week is "Queenie Farmer," and I bet I see it on Inchmark soon if our track record holds!

08.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlogful

We purchased this book for my daughter's fourth birthday. She has always loved Alice in Wonderland and my husband and I are huge fans of Mary Blair's art and Disneyland in general. We bought it while in Disney World this spring and I've seen it carried at Disneyland and Disney World. They also have a version of Cinderella with similar illustrations.

08.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

Oh this looks wonderful! I just reserved it at our library. Thank you!

08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I work in animation, and Blair's drawings are constantly referred to for inspiration. I still look at them when designing my own animated characters, as there is something about her style that makes you LOVE the people in the stories. They're adorable!

08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

I love the library book series. My favorite part is the cute little hands and arms.

08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Love your sotry book time always! Recall my little memory.
I once so scared of the Poker Queen. hehee

08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJujube

We have the Cinderella book and we love it. Baby's House, also by Mary Blair, was my daughter's favorite for ages.

08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRosa

Oh, the Cinderella is breathtaking.

08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

how wonderful. I'm reading Alice to my 5 and 6 year olds and have been really interested in the artwork of Alice.

08.21.2009 | Unregistered Commentertiel

I am so excited to learn about the other Mary Blair books. We found the Cinderella book a while ago, and now we will get Alice. My boys will be so happy when Peter Pan comes out. Me too. Her work is just beautiful.

08.21.2009 | Unregistered Commentergreta

I'm so glad more people are finding this book! I'm an animation student, and Mary Blair's work is a huge inspiration - as well as her ground-breaking role at Disney as a woman. It's so great to see her being recognized by more and more people now.

I've already got her Cinderella and Alice books, as well as the Art and Flair (a very interesting biography with gorgeous illustrations, and I've already pre-ordered Peter Pan! So I guess your wish came true!

08.22.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChelc

Oh Mary Blair...swoon...

08.22.2009 | Unregistered Commentermer

How funny, I purchased this book yesterday while Christmas (!!) shopping for my 5 year old daughter. It is just beautiful and the sales assistant also commented on the illustrations. It looks like my little boy will be getting Peter Pan for Christmas too. And there will be one happy mumma to read these gorgeous books too.

08.22.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Not sure if you've come across the book "I Can Fly", illustrated by Mary Blair and written by Ruth Krauss. The rhythm of the words work beautifully with the lovely lovely drawings - my 20-month old son loves it.

08.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterNeema

The graphics are wonderful! Thank you for sharing. Would love to get these books for my future children...would love to frame the pictures. So so beautiful.

08.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn

Oh, I love finding out about new books... thanks so much for featuring this one - it looks like a definite check out for my kids!

08.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKotori

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