Seeing “Fantasia” for the first time since college reminded me of a book that absolutely fascinated me as a little boy — Christopher Finch’s “The Art of Walt Disney.” This was a beautifully printed large hardcover book for adults, but somehow it made its way into my baby books — I remember poring over it in awe before I even learned to read. (Yes, skeptics, I can occasionally remember very early childhood experiences, and I dimly remember being preliterate. The text of this book and others looked to me then as Cyrillic looks to most of us today.)
The effect of this book’s gorgeous illustrations was profound. It seemed like nothing less than a collection of portals to other worlds. I’d have a hard time naming something that better stimulated a very young child’s imagination.
I also remember being fascinated by the fold-out panoramic pages, and the fact that the white cover slipped off to reveal an embossed hardcover beneath. (I was surprised that a book could have two covers.)