Wednesday, 22 October 2008
IF - the "late" dodo
Alice arrived just in time to see it take a gold watch from it's waistcoat pocket and exclaim, "Oh dear, oh dear! Oh my beak and feathers, how late I'm getting!" Alice wasn't sure of the correct etiquette when addressing an extinct bird and after thinking back to her lessons she decided upon, "Good Morning Mr. Dodo, and how do you do?" The dodo gave a quick jump and dropped it's umbrella. "It's not polite to startle people like that you know," it said, wagging a feather and frowning at Alice. "And heavens, you've made me drop my best umbrella. How wet I would be getting if it was raining. Alice looked up into the blue, cloudless sky but decided not to remark on this. "And while you are about it," said the Dodo, "how do you do is most certainly not how you should greet a Dodo in polite society. You must say how do you do DO if you don't want to cause confusion." "I'm sorry," said Alice, who was beginning to think the bird to be a little fussy and more than a little stupid. She secretly thought to herself, if all the dodos were like this one I'm not surprised that they are all extinct. She decided to try and change the subject. "Aren't I suppose to meet you for a Caucus-race in chapter 3 of the book...? And I could have sworn that last time I read this story there was a white rabbit hereabouts." "Curiouser and curiouser," remarked the Dodo.
Once again it's been too long by far between IF posts and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to reference two of my favourite illustrators (John Tenniel and Mary Blair) and one of my favourite reads! Tenniel illustrated the original Alice books with those amazing line drawings that managed to be both accurate and controlled and at the same time expressive and full of humour. If I had his draftsmanship I'd be a happy man! Mary Blair was the polar opposite. She was responsible for concept designs for Disneys 1951 animated feature of Alice in Wonderland, and much of the final look of that film is down to her remarkable use of colour and composition. Although the screenplay adaptation of Lewis Carroll's perfect book left a lot to be desired the film did the seemingly impossible and succeeded (in my humble opinion) in working with the 'source material' of Tenniel's illustrations rather than totally obliterating what went before. If I had Mary's instinct for colour I'd be a happy man twice over!