The discovery of plant biodiversity by children through the animated movies: Alice in Wonderland

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The discovery of biodiversity in childs occurs through various channels: either through direct contact withthe outside world, and indirectly through paintings, games and the media.Since 1937, Walt Disney Animation Studios realized animated movies inspired from novels. The first featurefilm was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Since this, Disney’s studios realized more than 10 dozenmovies.The feature that distinguishes these works from a technical point of view is the attention to detail especiallyfor the scene where the action takes place. Animals are often the protagonists of these stories, rarely plants.A good example of the latter is in “Alice in wonderland”, a movie distributed in 1951 that tells the story ofthe discovery by Alice of an unmusical, fantasy-filled world beyond her imagination populated by oddhuman and plant and animal characters. The plot of this film is taken from “Alice's Adventures inWonderland”, an 1865 novel written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carrollwith several inclusions of the sequel “Through the Looking-Glass” another novel by the same Lewis Carroll,published in 1871. Both are novels full of symbolism, mathematical allusions and satire and contain thecustoms of England in the Victorian Age.Alice, in the real and in in her imaginary world, moves within scenarios in which plants are the mainbackground. But it happens in the scene in which Alice is in the flower garden that flowers come alive andbecome characters of the story. This scene is inspired by the second chapter of the “Through the Looking-Glass” titled “The garden of live flowers”. In the novel, Alice comes up a hill along a winding path, thathouses a flower garden populated by daisies, a weeping willow, a lily, a rose, a larkspur and a violet. Thereal work of exaltation of plant biodiversity is made in the film by Walt Disney where in a scene of about 5minutes more than 20 flowers are presented.In the scene are clearly identifiable: Bellis perennis, Cestrum elegans, Chrysanthemum indicum, Convallariamajalis, Cyclamen persicum, Delphinium sp., Hyancinthoides non-scripta, Ipomoea violacea, Irisgermanica, Leucanthemum ×superbum, Leucanthemum vulgare, Lilium candidum, L. davidii, Narcissusincomparabilis, N. pseudonarcissus, Nelumbo nucifera, Ranunculus asiaticus, Rosa indica, Salix babylonica,Syringa vulgaris, Taraxacum sect. Taraxacum, Viola odorata, V. ×wittrockiana and Zinnia sp. It is a realtriumph of sounds and colours that leave the spectator delighted.The theme of the plants between knowledge and representation has been the subject of internationalmeetings and scientific contributions. Studies about the representation of plants in pre-Christian (1), duringthe Middle Ages and in European art of the XIV - XVII have been done (2). In our case the plants drawn inAlice in Wonderland seems to belong more to the plants cultivated in the Americans gardens of during1950’s, when the film was made, rather than to the English gardens of the Victorian era where the novel isset. Nevertheless these drawings approach children, and the adults accompanying them in the vision, to thebiodiversity of flowering plants cultivated. Offering to the spectator a wide representation of plantscommonly grown with their shape and colours.Certainly, "Alice in wonderland" is a good example of how even cartoons, such as fairy tales, can play aneducational role, as they allow the child to learn while having fun. In particular, this cartoon can be a goodteaching tool for knowledge of plant biodiversity. In fact, it can provide many ideas for developing
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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