CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 5 . . . . October 29, 2004
"It was all very well to say 'Drink me,' but the wise little Alice was not going to do _that_ in a hurry. 'No, I'll look first,' she said, 'and see whether it is marked "poison" or not; for she had read several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them..."
More than a hundred artists have illustrated Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There since their publication in 1865 and 1872. Many notable illustrators of each generation like Arthur Rackham, Charles Robinson, Mervyn Peake, and Helen Oxenbury have created illustrations which bear comparison to John Tenniel's original "Alice" illustrations.
Iassen Ghiuselev has taken a different approach to the challenge of creating an innovative and new treatment. The grey wrap around paper cover depicts a burgundy coloured drawing of a tumbling Alice, and, from this off-centre depiction, we know right away that this book is different! Artists and book designers will be very interested in this handsome limited edition, as Ghiuselev has created one tableau with elements from the whole story which is shown on the cover. This cover painting was originally painted in gouache on walnut board in rich tones of burgundy, olive and gold. Then, in the interior of the book, the relevant sections from the cover painting are reproduced. This large format book (9 inches by 13 inches) has a very attractive classic page design with ample white space, columnar text, and flourished Italic chapter headings, but the text has unfortunate misspellings like "if your hold it too long" and "going though the little door." The book also has a ribbon bookmarker which wittily has a paper tag attached saying 'Read Me'.
Ghiuselev's art is similar to the style of Chris Van Allsburg in its attention to detail and very realistic renderings of fantastical adventures. Some of Ghiuselev's characterizations are very reminiscent of Tenniel as in his depiction of the caterpillar on the toadstool. This new edition is recommended, and it would also be a very nice gift.
Lorraine Douglas is an artist and writer living in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.