Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wonderland in Print

If you have become curiouser and curiouser about what good books have come out relating to Tim Burton's incredibly popular Alice in Wonderland film, we have just the bibliography for you.

Three books have been published that relate specifically to the Disney film itself.  As the new movie is not a direct adaptation of the original Lewis Carroll Alice books but rather a sequel of sorts, Disney has released a novelization of the screenplay.  Though most movie novelizations are generally unremarkable tie-ins, this adaptation by T. T. Sutherland is a handsome hardbound edition with an attractive cover illustration.  The book is directed at teens and younger readers who may find it a quick and entertaining revisiting of the events of the film.

Alice in Wonderland: The Visual Guide is a standard DK visual guide, though very well designed and produced.  Tim Burton's film certainly lends itself to this type of product with its amazing art direction and complex settings.  Some of the film's less than clear plot points and details are explained throughout.   Though somewhat slight at 72 pages, it is still an altogether attractive package that younger readers might find especially captivating.

A more extensive examination of the film is provided with Alice in Wonderland: The Visual Companion, set to be released later this month.  This oversize, hefty coffee table-type tome will, according to publisher advertising copy, " . . . take readers to the world behind Burton's camera, revealing the secrets of performance-capture technology, the marriage of live-action and CGI technology, and displaying its singular style in a deluxe, artistic format."

Though unrelated to the new film, two additional Walt Disney Alice in Wonderland books are engaging and nostalgic in both presentation and context.  Little Golden Books has reprinted their original Disney Alice in Wonderland edition from 1951.  Illustrated by studio veteran and Disney Legend Al Dempster, it is a terrific value at a mere $3.99.  Dempster's Legends web page notes, "Al left perhaps an even more intimate and enduring legacy in his work on the design and illustration of more than a dozen Disney Golden Books. Always concerned with controlling the quality of Disney art, Walt would often assign the illustration of books to Studio staff between their other projects."

Another studio veteran who often did book illustrations was Mary Blair.  Disney Editions has been publishing a series of illustrated storybooks featuring Blair's artwork of which an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is the latest release.  The book is equal parts storybook and artistic resource and will definitely delight fans of Blair, who has become one of Disney's most renown and highly regarded artists.  The story was adapted by author Jon Scieszka of Stinky Cheese Man fame.

And for those who simply want to revisit Lewis Carroll's original 19th century Alice texts, there are numerous editions of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass available.  Of special note is a brand new Alice audiobook that features Jim Dale, the very popular narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks.


Unknown said...

Jim Dale is an amazing voice artist. Here's an off topic 6-degrees of Disney game to enjoy: Jim Dale was the original Phineas in the Broadway musical Barnum (which also featured multiple Disney movie actress and voice artist Glenn Close originating his wife Cherry, but I digress). The original West End Phineas was portrayed by Michael Crawford who later originated the Phantom role in Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (that was produced by Cameron MacIntosh, Disney Theatrical's co-producer on Broadway's Mary Poppin's, but again I digress). Prior to all of this, Michael Crawford starred in Disney's Condorman, a horrible (and rare for the time) PG rated 1981 Disney movie. Random response for the day.

Michael said...

I'll give you one degree of separation - Jim Dale was Dr. Terminus in Pete's Dragon!