Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Walt Disney's Worlds Of Nature

   While sifting through a really blah estate sale in North Jersey a few weeks ago I stumbled on a really phenomenal old Disney nature book.  Normally I avoid rummaging through books in general, as we have way too many as it is, but this particular estate sale was actually organized by category, which is pretty rare.  In the children's book section I found a few interesting Disney publications, but this is the only one that I wasn't previously familiar with.


   The cover is straight out of a Wes Anderson film, and I'm basically obsessed with it.  I want to keep this on my coffee table forever.  The "pattern" on the cover is actually a small illustration of Snow White and her dwarves.  Was this a common thing with these ambiguously Disney  books?  The chartreuse couldn't be more perfect.



   I always love the choice of inside cover illustrations. This one is seriously trippy. Featuring "echoed silhouettes" of some famous Disney characters including Snow White, Mary Poppins (which had just come out at the time of publication...) and Bongo the circus bear.



   The contents of the book are actually rather extensive, especially considering the age group that this is geared toward.  Categorized mostly by region of the world, the text takes kids on a journey of each regions fauna.  Obviously the focus is on the "cute" animals, but also features more obscure animals...including quite a few insects, reptiles, and birds. 

   This is the kind of book that you hold onto, in hopes of handing them down to your own kids.  I'm super glad that I can add this to my growing collection of vintage Disney books.  It so accurately depicts the wonderful nature trope that Disney was busy developing at the time, adding to the rich history of the genre, and its relationship to Disney parks in general. 



1 comment:

  1. My family owned that book when I was a child in the 1960s. It was one of a set of four books that came in a slipcover box, each with a different color spine, and each was on a different topic. Besides the nature one that you found, I can't remember exactly, but I think maybe the other 3 were about people, places, and favorite stories (mostly featuring Disney characters).

    I loved those books so much, and spent many happy hours with my nose stuck in them! Those silhouettes were the same in all four books, and each came from an illustration somewhere in one of the books. The group playing alpenhorns, for instance, was probably from the Places book.

    In your nature book, is there a story about the shrew? I remember reading it somewhere, about how it is so fierce despite being one of the tiniest animals in the world, and it seems like it might have been in that book.

    Congratulations on making such a great find - perhaps eventually you can find all four!

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