Saturday, 13 November 2010

Curious Creatures

Alice encounters a huge number of animals during her visits to Wonderland and Looking Glass World - many of whom have inadvertently tumbled into the pool of tears. We think that a selection of realistic models will help populate your Wonderland home, without being too overtly cutesy or explicitly Alicey. We're planning on assembling some around the pool we mentioned yesterday, but of course you could display your plastic menagerie anywhere and any way you like.

The Dodo is an absolutely must-have character in any Wonderland collection, as it represents Lewis Carroll himself. It is said that, owing to his stammer, Carroll used to pronounce his real name DoDoDodgson. Whether or not this is true, when he gave a copy of Alice's Adventures Underground to his friend Robinson Duckworth, he inscribed it to "The Duck, from the Dodo."

The Mouse is the first animal which falls into the pool, and the first creature Alice has a conversation with in Wonderland. The Duck represents the Reverend Robinson Duckworth, who was the recipient of the book mentioned above.

The Baboon isn't mentioned in Carroll's text at all, but John Tenniel chose to portray one in his illustrations. (You can see it peering over the back of the Dodo.) Some critics have suggested that its inclusion might be a reference to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, which was the cause of much debate at the time.

There are other animals who tumble into the pool, but we think that, if Tenniel can include whichever creatures take his fancy, then so can we! (And so can you.)

We love the Guinea Pigs which feature in the first book. They are only very minor characters (they don't even get to speak) but, like Alice, we like it when they have to be suppressed during the trial of the Knave of Hearts.

Wonderland just wouldn't be Wonderland without at least one Flamingo and a Hedgehog (or several.) In fact, we rather fancy having a huge flock of flamingoes, and think our pool would look just as good with no other creatures at all.

This piglet is adorable. It would make a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, we think.

Sadly, we couldn't find a Mock Turtle, so we've had to substitute it for this real Turtle instead. And, my goodness but, isn't this Gryphon magnificent! Together, they make a most excellent pair.

We think this Hare is superb, and would gladly have it in our collection.

The Panther and the Owl appear in the dark and sinister second verse of 'Tis the Voice of the Lobster:

I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,
How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie:
The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon;
While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
And concluded the banquet by ---

And there, the poem is interrupted...

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