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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Disney Literature Challenge

Hi, everyone! Time for another 2012 Reading Challenge, and this one is perpetual!

I stumbled across this challenge, which is being hosted by Sarah at Sarah Miller: Reading, Writing, Musing....

Although I am a big fan of Disney movies, there is nothing like reading the original book. The Disney versions of the tales tend to be watered-down, and I already had made it a challenge of my own to read the original versions of the books to my kids. I was happy to find this challenge as it fits with what I was doing anyway!

Here are the details copied from Sarah's blog:
Disney Literature Challenge

My name is Sarah, and I am a Disney fan. I'm also a children's literature maven, which presents something of a contradiction. Any book-nerd worth her salt knows how good old "Uncle" Walt Disney shamelessly ravaged the storybook shelves to find material for his animated features. Loads of purists detest Disney for his habit of slashing and condensing the classics of children's literature into cartoon corruptions. (For a primo example, read Tomie dePaola's 26 Fairmount Avenue. I don't think Tomie's ever going to bring himself to forgive Mr. Disney for what he did to Snow White.) The real kicker, of course, is the way the Disney versions always seem to eclipse the real stories and doom the author to obscurity. Seriously now, everybody knows Bambi and Mary Poppins, but what kid has ever heard of Felix Salten or P.L. Travers? From an author's point of view that stinks, but darn it, I still love my Uncle Walt.

Now, some of my very favorite book people harbor strong anti-Disney tendencies. (Cam, this means you. I'm betting on Linda and Jim, too.) In their honor, and in hopes of putting a tiny chip in the mountain of gratitude I owe them, I'm proposing a Disney Literature Challenge. Let's dig up the uncorrupted originals, and see how these stories looked before Uncle Walt had his way with them, shall we?

For my part, I'm making this a long term, laid back endeavor. No time limits, no minimums, no obligations. Pick the ones you like and quit when you get sick of the whole idea. Wanna skip the bulky ones like Dickens, Hugo and White? Be my guest. If the multimedia approach of comparing the book to the movie appeals to you, go for it. I'm particularly hoping some of the anti-Disney camp might be good sports and take a refresher look at some of the films. Rereads are legal, even encouraged.

If you're game for joining in, please leave a comment. And if you post reviews of the books you read, I'd love it if you'd take a second to link back to this post, leave a fresh comment or ping me at: sarah(at)sarahmillerbooks(dot)com so I can keep up with who's reading what.

(photo from

For the sake of sanity and consistency (two things I'm rather fond of) I'm confining the Disney Literature Challenge to works based on feature length films that are completely or partially animated. And since I still harbor a big fat soft spot for most things Disney, I'm cutting him some slack in the fairy tale department. Stories that originated in folklore, having no known author, shall be somewhat exempt and fall into the bonus categories at the end. I figure every storyteller has a right to adapt a folktale without being sneered at -- that's what folklore's all about, after all.

This, then, is the official list. Film titles are italicized, with the original stories they were derived from immediately following in bold. An asterisk indicates books I've already read myself.

Pinocchio (1940)
Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet, by Carlo Collodi (1916)

The Reluctant Dragon (1941)
excerpted from Dream Days, by Kenneth Grahame (1898)

Bambi (1942)
Bambi, by Felix Salten (1928)

Song Of The South (1946)
Tales of Uncle Remus, by Joel Chandler Harris (1881)
(or choose the 1990's retellings by Julius Lester)*

So Dear To My Heart (1949)
Midnight and Jeremiah, by Sterling North (1943)

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mister Toad (1949)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving (1820)
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

Alice In Wonderland (1951)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (1865)*
Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll (1871)

Peter Pan (1953)
Peter Pan, by Sir J.M. Barrie*

One Hundred And One Dalmatians (1961)
The Hundred and One Dalmatians, or The Great Dog Robbery, by Dodie Smith (1956)

The Sword In The Stone (1963)
The Once and Future King, by T.H. White (1958)

Mary Poppins (1964)
Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers (1934)*

The Jungle Book (1967)
The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling (1894)*

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Bed-knob and Broomstick, by Mary Norton (1957)

The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh (1977)
Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne (1926)*
The House at Pooh Corner, by A.A. Milne (1928)*

The Rescuers (1977)
The Rescuers, by Magery Sharp (1959)

The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Fox and the Hound, by Daniel Pratt Mannix IV (1967)

The Black Cauldron (1985)
The Black Cauldron, by Lloyd Alexander (1965)

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Basil of Baker Street, by Eve Titus (1958)

Oliver & Company (1988)
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens (1838)

The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen (1836)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo (1831)

Tarzan (1999)
Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914)

Bonus category: Folklore
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Cinderella (1950)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Robin Hood (1973)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Aladdin (1992)
Mulan (1998)

Extra bonus category: Obscurities & Rarities
Dumbo (1941)
Dumbo the Flying Elephant, by Helen Albertson and Harold Pearl (1939)

Lady And The Tramp (1955)
Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog, by Ward Greene (circa 1940)
(originally published in Cosmopolitan magazine; also called Happy Dan the Cynical Dog)

The Aristocats (1970)
based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe (???)

Pete's Dragon (1977)
based on a story by S.S. Fields and Seton Miller (circa 1930)
Let the once upon a times begin.

If you want to join me in the challenge, just click on the challenge badge at the beginning of this post.

I am going to keep track of my progress below.


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