Anyone who knows me, has learnt my rant about today’s childrens literature by heart. I think it leaves much to be desired. As much as I laugh at "Horrid Henry" and "Rude Judy", the thought of these two literary "Gems" being what I read to my kids, makes me gag. However, recently I read a book that not only revived my faith in children’s literature, (and wiped away the few cobwebby doubts I had about studying it) it made me happier than Ive been in ages. Jerry Pinto’s, A Bear for Felicia, has become "the-book-I-carry-in-my-bag-everyday-because-it-makes- me-happy-just-looking-at-it". I peek at its happy yellow cover in between Media Planning lectures, and it keeps me from screaming out loud. Despite the bold "10+" emblazoned on the cover, this isn’t a book my 19 years is afraid of reading over and over again. He brings to a life a language, a mentality and a feeling of children’s literature that died with Enid Blyton, with Louisa May Alcott, with LM Montgomery (JK Rowling falls into this list, except you know, she’s alive). I digress. Surprise surprise. Jerry Pinto gives a teddy bear such a strong and vivid personality, for most of the book, you forget he’s a bear. Or it doesnt even matter, that you’re 19 and your reading a teddy bear’s views on life. He’s smarter than most mature adults I know.
Along with my faith in children’s literature, Id also lost large amounts of faith in animated films. Yes, Im a cynical old woman. The Beauty & The Beast, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland & Mulan were possibly the last exceptional animated films I remember. Finding Nemo too, came after many years like a breath of fresh air, with characters you fell in love with and remembered for all time. However, after so many years of a great animated film, I expected something revolutionary, which sadly I didnt find in Finding Nemo. I waited for a long and lonely time and with Wall-e, the wait was worth it. It was a movie that stirred something that no film has stirred in a long time. Its a feeling of breathlessness, the feeling you get after seeing a magnificent piece of art, or a great monument – and you know that its so much bigger than you and its so glorious you feel almost giddy. Wall-e, is so much more than an animated film. Its a truly exceptional piece of filmmaking. A film that is perfect, in its carving and its polishing, in every possible way.
I suppose a part of me should feel odd that the greatest joy Ive felt in forever has been from a children’s book and an animated film. I dont really, not in the slightest. I feel truly grateful that two things so perfect in their own separate ways, could wake me from an almost comatose condition. One brought back a feeling I thought was dead, the other took a limping art and created a majestic revolution. My inner child is singing, is dancing, is twirling and tap dancing on bare feet and feels so alive, she’s pouring some into the adult me. Inner children should always be pampered from time to time. A Bear for Felicia and Wall-e are the best possible ways.
– As you probably all know by now, Mappings is quite the busy body. Since I had told him that he’d be on his own quite a bit what with me being in my final year and all that, he decided he was going to go to work. Thats right. My Mappings is working! He’s put his briefcase on show for all of you, and hope you’ll visit him at work from time to time. He’s new at this whole working thing, so would like to see a few friendly familiar faces. His office address is Mappings 9 to 5 and he hopes he’ll see you soon. He loves his office, its new and shiny and glossy. But at the end of the day, he cant wait to get home (yes, here!) where its comfortable, and warm and well, home. Yes, that was my way of saying that even though he’s working and has a new office, Mappings is never going to forget that this is home, this is where he started, and this is where he belongs. With me, with all of you.