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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)

Thanks so much for sharing this book! I always loved that style of drawing, and associated it so strongly with Disney. To know now that an amazingly talented woman was the influence and inspiration behind it is just fantastic!

08.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarly

Thanks for mentioning Mary Blair - I have admired her work while watching the titles for the Cinderella - but knew nothing about her untill now.

08.26.2009 | Unregistered Commentersidsel

I love the Cinderella book! Alice in Wonderland is going to be a treat to see.

These are some interesting articles I recently found:

08.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim S

Mary Blair has been one of my favorite artists for quite some time now. Get your hands on "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair" if you can!

08.27.2009 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

I have been going to the library every week since my children were babies. Here are some of the favourite authors my children( and I) loved when they were younger. Janet and Allan Ahlberg ( you have discovered their magic already!),Eric Carle ( Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See? The Very Quiet Cricket - such a hit that my children and their friends put it on as a play one year) Peter Collington ( Angel and the Soldier Boy - illustrations without text), Lois Ehlert ( Planting a Rainbow)Eugenie Fernandes (Waves in the Bathtub), Phoebe Gilman ( Grandma and the Pirates),Kevin Hawkes ( His Royal Buckliness - I love this one),Maryanne Kovalski( The Wheels on the Bus - with a twist and it will make you sing),Jean Little and Maggie de Vries ( Once Upon a Golden Apple)
Bill Martin Jr. and Bill Archambault ( Chicka Chicka Boom Boom),Helen Oxenbury ( Tom and Pippo series), Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury( We're Going on a Bear Hunt), Rosemary Wells ( McDuff series and Max and Ruby series)
Have fun and happy reading.

08.28.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I just love this section of your blog! I'm keeping a list going for when I have kids of my own!

09.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate

if you are interested in adding these to your permanent library - i just picked them up at bookcloseouts.com for 6.99 each. i really love mary blair's artwork.

09.13.2009 | Unregistered Commentermelanie

gorgeous! I'll request this version from our library.

10.6.2009 | Unregistered Commenterabbie

My favorite quote from Alice & Wonderland:

"What's the use of books without pictures and conversation?"

So true!

11.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Nutmeg

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