11/16/06

Our lovely baby llama

I'm pleased to report that Aaron Chimbel of WFAA did another video news segment about my caddy-corner cria at Custer and Park in Plano. On Monday I saw the baby llama sitting on the back of its llama mmama while she was resting. It looked ever so much like the rare pushmi-pullyu in Hugh Lofting's The Story of Doctor Dolittle. At least it resembled my mental image of that fictional creature.

One of the most lovely things about reading is creating our own mental images of the story. I avoid movies based on books I've read because they rarely jibe with my personal version.

We went to see Disney's "Mary Poppins" at the old State Theater on "O" Street in 1964. I was horribly embarrassed to be seen crying at the end of the movie. It was the first time I cried at a movie, but far from the last. I was crying because the ending was sad, but also because Julie Andrews was nothing like my personal vision of P. L. Travers' nanny from reading the book. I was nine years old, and confused. Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Ed Wynn, and Glynis Johns were all wonderful in the movie, but it just wasn't sooty and foggy enough!

After that I didn't want to experience the clash of expectations by seeing Rex Harrison in the 1967 Dr. Dolittle, or Dick Van Dyke in the 1968 Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Ian Fleming's book is a favorite to this day, but I dreaded a clean and sparkly Hollywood version.

I read Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain for the first of many times after I saw the 1969 movie at the old Joyo Theater. It still bugs me that the endings are different. The movie images make it impossible to create my personal mental illustrations whenever I read the book. I still love Sam Gribley, Fearful the falcon, the wonderful librarian Miss Turner, and the Baron weasel. I still entertain the idea of running away to the Catskills and living in a hollow tree. It beats being stranded on Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins with a pack of wild dogs with only my own imagination!

And so, if you have a personal mental image of a charming baby llama on an historic farm in the middle of a built-out suburb, please don't view the WFAA link. Get your colored pencils and watercolors. Hold on to your interpretation!

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

I agree with you about Julie Andrews. To be right, she needed to look exactly like the illustrations in the book and she failed miserably at that. Also, she was not nearly cranky enough!

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