Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beautiful Books

Last year the boys read Treasure Island, or listened to it.. I'd acquired a beautiful hardbound copy of the story with illustrations by Robert Ingpen. In a rush I'd read his name really fast & mistaken it for Mick Inkpen, you know the illustrated of Kipper The Dog, or rather some distant relative.. Imagine my surprised to open the book upon it's arrival & see the amazing pictures awaiting us. The book was a huge hit on many levels because, let's face it, what boy isn't into pirates & treasure, mystery & adventure? The boys could not get enough of the book, & they were only spurred on when a beloved cousin said, "Oh what, you're reading Treasure Island? I love that book!"

It inspired a lot of chatter about older classic kids books we may or may not have read in a while. A great many we read when the children were younger or put off waiting until Morgan was older & we thought he'd be capable of reading them on his own. Perhaps that day will come, but his vision limitations have put a lot of road blocks up for him.

He recently came out & asked if I'd have time to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or maybe The Wizard Of Oz with him. His reasoning was pretty simple, "Dad keeps saying what great books they are, but I don't remember them!" It may sound odd, but I wanted to buy beautiful copies of these books, & we instantly looked to see if Mr Ingpen had done any of the books we were after. Imagine our delight to discover he had? Then came the long debate over which one to purchase first, & when no firm conclusion could be made we decided that over time we'd acquire them all.

Then, while in the bookshop recently we stumbled upon Alice's Adventures In Wonderland with illustrations by Ingpen. We came home & devoured the book, placing an order right away for a The Wind In The Willows & The Wizard Of Oz.

The really hard part about purchasing these books was that it was very very difficult to get a sample of the beautiful illustrations inside. In fact, while in the bookshop they'd had 2 other books illustrated by Ingpen on hand: The Wind In The Willows which was beautifully done & The Secret Garden. Mary's eyes in The Secret Garden were a little terrifying & while it disappointed me, I was delighted to see it in person before purchasing it.

Spotting Alice's story in the bookshop brought back the boys desire to read through the older books, you know, ".. the ones you & Dad keep talking about." Which is really why they picked Alice's story, because Mr S had spoken so fondly of it.

The illustrations, as expected, were absolutely captivating too, all though the boys were a little mystified on the story aspect. Not that I blame them really, Alice's story was never one I could fully get into. There were some chuckles over the humour & the mentions of things we'd recently studied, & Morgan sat bolt upright when I read out one of the poems in the book. "Didn't you read that from the poetry book last week?" I had to point it out the poetry book actually obtained it from Alice's story.

Three-quarters of the way through the book they were getting concerned that it wasn't really going to be that great, but Mr S encouraged them to follow it through. "It'll make sense in the end, I promise!" So onward we went, finishing it off last week. We read the extras included in our copy about Mr Lewis' journey to publishing the book as well as Mr Ingpen's inspiration behind the illustrations. When I closed the book for the final time the boys looked at each other & said in unison, "We need to talk to Dad. That was total nonsense!" 

Oh yes, yes it was. They aren't so sure about reading of Alice's other adventures.. they've nixed the idea of watching the movie & wasting time complaining it's nothing like the book, "Especially if it's got all the horrible singing in it.." -- which I think is only in the older Disney Cartoon, but never mind that now. Dorothy's adventure is on the table now & we're so caught up in it we haven't time to worry about Alice anymore.

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