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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Burton’

librarysoulsRansom Riggs’ main characters aren’t funny peculiar but peculiar Peculiar with a capital P — children and young people with special gifts and odd attributes who live in time loops where days repeat and they don’t age. This much we learned in Riggs’ fantastic first book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in which American teen Jacob Portman explored his grandfather’s past at a decrepit orphanage in Wales and discovered his own talent for discerning the monstrous Hollowghasts that devour Peculiars’ souls.

The exciting second book, Hollow City, picked up right where the first left off, with Jacob and his small band of friends fleeing the isolated island time loop and ending up in World War II Britain. Superstrong Bronwyn carried a trunk on her back containing their beloved teacher Miss Peregrine, changed into bird form. Fending off enemies right and left in the middle of the London Blitz, Jacob and company sought the still-human Miss Wren with help from some peculiar pigeons at St. Paul’s Cathedral. They also found some more peculiar kids and animals, but the “hollows” and their minions, the “wights,” were in hot pursuit. Time was running out to turn Miss Peregrine back into her human form.

And that brings us to the third, and presumably final Peculiar tale, Library of Souls (Quirk Books, library hardcover), which builds on everything that has gone before and goes deeper and darker before coming full circle to a satisfying finale. But first Jacob must learn how to control the hollows, and he and his flame-throwing girlfriend Emma must rescue not only Miss Peregrine but also their bartered friends. Victorian London, here they come! The fate of all Peculiardom hangs in the balance.

Odd vintage photographs again enhance the atmosphere and Riggs’ world-building. Wouldn’t the Peculiars make a great Tim Burton movie? We’ll find out in spring 2016.

 

 

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I’m ready to follow Tim Burton’s Alice down the rabbit hole, curious to see how his imagination meshes with Lewis Carroll.  I love Alice ‘s Adventures in Wonderland and its companion Through the Looking-Glass and often find myself quoting from the books. “Down, down, down.”  “Curiouser and curiouser.” “I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” “Oh, my ears and whiskers!”

I admit there’s not much call for “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/ Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:/All mimsy were the borogroves,/ And the mome raths outgrabe.”  But I love the sound of the words. Jabberwocky!

But as Alice herself says, “what use is a book without pictures and conversations?” Carroll’s tales have many nonsensical conversations and fantastical characters, but the illustrations can make a difference between a nice children’s book and a masterpiece. Like filmmakers, artists are challenged to bring Wonderland to life.

I think my first Alice was a laminated copy with a cover illustration from the 1950s Disney animated version. It disappeared years ago, but I still have a red leather “classic” with the famous John Tenniel illustrations. I can remember drawing pretty good copies of Alice looking up in the tree at the Cheshire Cat.

Tenniel’s Alice is a stumpy little thing (except when her neck grows), quite different from Arthur Rackham’s more ethereal, fairy-tale creature or Mervyn Peake’s sprite. Michael Hague depicts her with long brown tresses in a party dress and Mary Janes, while Barry Moser’s wood engravings show a more modern moppet with a cloud of dark hair. To my mind, Moser has the best white rabbit. Having seen several of Burton’s drawings, I like his Cheshire Cat.

If you’ve read Neil Gaiman’s Coraline with its illustrations by Dave McKean, or seen the animated film, which is up for an Oscar, you’ll know that a talking cat plays quite a large role in that story. Other similarities include a small locked door, a tunnel like a rabbit hole, a beguiling heroine, assorted eccentrics and a rather terrifying adventure in an alternate world.  Watching the movie the other day, I hoped that Burton does as good a job with Alice as director Henry Selick did with Coraline, which has a bit of Burton about it. Turns out that Selick also directed Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Ah! Curiouser and curiouser.

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