Sunday, September 9, 2007
Thank Goddess for ebay!
Initially, I was reluctant to open the gates to even further depths of the hell known as Financial Debt, via online shopping. I'm glad that I took the risk, though, as I have been able to recover so much of what was once lost, but still beloved.
For a paltry $4.51, this week's mail brought me a used paperback copy of Anne McCaffrey's 'Dragonsong.' I already have copies of her books on my shelf, but not with the original cover art. I tend to fall stubbornly in love with the original illustrations of favorite childhood books. And the replacement cover art for McCaffrey's Harper Hall trilogy, in the 80's and beyond, just did not get the representations of fire lizards quite right, dammit!
I used to be one of those kids who did judge a book by its cover, and whose decisions about whether or not to read several books were based on the cover designs and art work. And just as a remix or cover of a popular tune doesn't hold up to the original, usually (in the minds of us old fogeys), I generally feel that the same priciple applies to first edition illustrations. There are exceptions, of course. I absolutely loved Tim Burton's film version of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' And No Doubt's cover of "It's My Life" was an improvement--but these aren't even book illustrations . . .
I tend to fall instantly in love, too, with any adaptations of books that are able to faithfully recreate original illustrations. I did not see the most recent film version of 'Charlotte's Web,' starring Dakota Fanning, but the painstakingly accurate poster ad, copied from the original cover art, made me want to (see below).
If you still love 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,' look for the 1972 film, now available on DVD, starring Fiona Fullerton (and Michael Crawford as the White Rabbit! I wonder if he ever kicked any children?). This film is another example of an adaptation that faithfully and closely recreates the book's original illustrations (below).
If you're a Roald Dahl fan like me, then you understand the whimsical wonder of Quentin Blake's illustrations. But--BUTT--it was almost sacrilegious to have him redo the illustrations for 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' 'Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator,' and other Dahl classics.
It tweren't broke! It didn't need no fixin'!
I was dying for another gawk at the fascinating and even sometimes-grotesque illustrations of the originals, marvelously drawn by Joseph Schindelman. And they were nowhere to be found in the children's sections of our local bookstores and city library (Stop looking at me suspiciously--I'm not like Michael Jackson, I swear!).
So, again, and say it with me this time: Thank Goddess for ebay!
One more: Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford the Big, Red Dog, had a fun little series of monster books for kids, back in the day. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm the only one on this planet who remembers 'How to Care for Your Monster,' by Bridwell.
As it turns out, I am only one of a handful, as evidenced by this pop classic that is advertised for sale, on ebay (last time, below).
Manna from heaven! Come to West Covina and take a gander-gander-gander!