11/23/2011 01:35 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2012

The Joy of Miniatures

I'm writing this essay with kittens wrestling next to me on the rug. I think there are few things more joy-giving than kittens. Kittens seem to be universal crowd-pleasers. Why? I think because they are miniature cats, and there is something inherently pleasing about miniature things. Unlike other animals, kittens possess all the same features and in the same proportion as their parents, they are just smaller -- they are mini-cats. Looking at these four kittens I began to think: What is so magical about miniatures?

Lewis Carroll called it over a century ago when he offered Alice the chance to visit a wonderland world if only she would shrink small enough to fit through the mouse-sized door protecting its entry. Carroll knew that like most children Alice would be in awe of the tiny gardens behind the door and her youthful impulsiveness would motivate her, however cautious she told herself she was being, to drink and journey forward.

Like Alice's wonderland, the miniature fascinates us, entertains us and brings us joy. There is something inexplicably transcendent and amusing in that which is so tiny and yet so perfectly complete. Perhaps it's because the miniature suggests a possibility that could only exist in another world, a fantasy world, a Gulliver's Travels' tale, or perhaps it is quite simply because there is something magical in the miniature that brings out the kid in all of us.