Walt Disney's It's a Small World with the Song
Walt Disney Productions ~ Western Publishing, 1968
Though I normally wouldn't post on a book like this, I thought it apropos to highlight it with all the controversy of the refurbishing of the Disneyland Mary Blair-designed "It's a Small World" ride that swirled around in 2008. Mary was a Disney legend and illustrated a few children's books including the beloved I Can Fly, and people were way PO'd when Disney decided to muck with her original concept. Anywho, I'm sure this book wasn't illustrated by her, and it's weird because no illustrator is credited at all. (Anyone got any ideas?)
These little read-alongs were absolutely a part of my childhood, and take me back to the days when we all got those cassette tape machines and would copy songs by holding the machine up to the radio and pressing record. This "Book and Tape" in particular is about a little orphan boy who does not know what country he is from, so when he goes with his friends to Disneyland and experiences "It's a Small World" for himself, well.... he comes out the other end with a different perspective on his place in the world.
He came to the end of the voyage with the words of the song running through his mind. "Just one moon, and a golden sun." And "A smile means friendship to everyone.... it's a small, small world." He still did not know what country he came from, but he knew that a part of him belonged to every country. And a part of every country belonged to him.
Having cruised through the Magic Kingdom version a few times in my youth, one can never forget the feeling of floating into that tunnel and getting swept up in the mystery of it all... not unlike the psychedelic boat ride in Willy Wonka. My son loves his old VHS "Disney Sing-Along Songs" tapes, and every time he tunes in to his favorite ~ "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" ~ not only does he get to view the out-of-print feature title, but he also gets to take a video boat ride through the "Small World" itself. Awesome! (This coming from the woman who swore off licensed characters before her son was born. Ha!)