Book Review – Disney Trivia from the Vault

Author: Dave Smith
ISBN: 1423153707

On Sale: 06/26/2012
Price: $9.99 US / $10.99 CAN
Ages: 12 and up

Imprint: Disney Editions

Description: Beginning with the July 1983 issue of Disney Channel Magazine, Dave Smith began answering Disney trivia questions from viewers of the Disney Channel. “Ask Dave” questions have come from Disney enthusiasts the world over, and have covered topics ranging from Cinderella’s last name (Tremaine) to the number of triangles covering the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth (11,324 facets comprising 954 triangles.) Over 1,100 questions have been fielded by Dave Smith, the now-retired Chief Archivist of The Walt Disney Company, and this book is a compendium of the most interesting and revealing of those queries.
Review: The book starts with a one-page introduction by Dave Smith himself. He talks about the early beginnings of his connection with our Disney questions as the Chief Archivist of the Walt Disney Archives. He drifted from one publication to another until finally resting on the Internet on the D23 Web site, we he can be found now.
But many books have come out of Dave’s congenial willingness to answer an unending stream of Disney questions! The latest of which is this one: Disney Trivia from the Vault.After this brief introduction, Dave just dives right in with the first question, and doesn’t stop until the last page. There are no pictures in this book and no appendix, but the book is divided into 8 sections. I’ll list them for you, with one teaser for each:

Animated Features – Did Richard Chamberlain have anything to do with the Little Mermaid? Animated Shorts – Did Walt Disney ever draw Mickey Mouse for the screen? Disneyland – How many babies have been born at Disneyland? Live-Action Films – Were the Nannies in the street in Mary Poppins women or men? Publications – What year did Scrooge McDuck first appear in a Disney comic? Television – What was the movie in which Kurt Russell starred as a young rebel soldier? Walt Disney World – Pluto belonged to two other owners before Mickey. Who were they? Walt Disney – Is it true that ‘Disney’ is a changed version of Walt’s family’s original name?

I hope these 8 teasers have whet your appetite for this book!

I’d give this book a 3.5 stars out of 5 for the serious Disney fan, just because many of the facts given have been available before. But for casual or new Disney fans I would raise the score to a 4. The book is a treasure trove from the man who knows all, so should be on the bookshelf and in the hands of anyone who has ever asked a Disney question!
I’d like to thank Disney Publishing Worldwide for sending me this preview copy.

Book Review – A Disney Sketchbook

Author: Ken Shue
ISBN: 1423165691

On Sale: 10/09/2012
Price: $50.00 US / $55.00 CAN
Ages: 18-30 (Lee’s Notes: Or any Disney fan, of any age!)
Imprint: Disney Editions
Description: Imagine if one sketchbook had been passed down through the decades from one Disney animator to the next, with each one making a contribution before leaving it in the talented hands of another artist. That idea was the inspiration for A Disney Sketchbook. Films and shorts from throughout the history of the company are featured—beginning with Steamboat Willie and ending with Tangled—demonstrating the ingenuity and skill that have remained a constant at Walt Disney Animation Studios since 1928.
Review: So goes the official press release of this beautiful publication. Now I’m going to impartially gush about it for the rest of the post!
 From the Foreword we learn that this book contains unprocessed, unlinked, unpainted, and un-rendered selections of Disney drawings. They come from the various stages of film development: Animation thumbnails, rough animation drawings, layout drawings, and other pieces used for story and visual development. And although the artists never thought of these drawings as stand-alone artwork, but only the means to tell a story, one can’t help but view them as one would a painting hanging in the finest art gallery!
These works have been organized in a rough chronological order, understanding that many of the films they represent overlapped in their production schedules.
So which artists are represented herein? A list: Ub Iwerks, Joe Grant, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, Milt Kahl, Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Glen Keane, as well as many other Studio drawings and works by some unknown artists.
In the Introduction we find quotes from many Disney artists about how they approached their drawings. The text in this book is contained on only 4 pages, but what they contain is well worth the read.
On the Pages that follow, we find only bare drawings. No captions. No explanations. No credits. No… nothing. Just artwork. And I loved it! Part of the fun for any true Disney fan will be in trying to guess the film that the drawing is from. Actually, this is quite easy. But more challenging is trying to guess the Artist responsible! You’ll need to get your Disney Geek on to succeed in this!

Speaking of the pages, they are heavy card stock, much like a real sketchbook would be. It’s a real treat to turn these pages!

This is a great book to ‘read’ together as a family, with each age group getting something different out of it. I’d give this book 4.5 stars out of 5, only because some might prefer more text, however unnecessary it would be.
I’d like to thank Disney Publishing Worldwide for sending me this preview copy.

Book Review: Herbie the Love Bug Goes to Monte Carlo

by Vic Crume
Scholastic Book Services
This great little paperback novel only cost me $4 even, and it’s turned out to be worth every penny. Of course, at $4, that isn’t saying much!
But seriously, the cover art alone is worth the price, along with the black and white photographs from the movie inside. The story is written in a simplified way for children, but gives some interesting insights into Herbie that didn’t come across in the movie.
Novel adaption of the third Herbie movie
To give you an idea of the style of writing, and how the book helps us to see Herbie in a more intimate way, here is a reprint of the opening lines:
What a sight!
Swinging safely in a cargo net from the big ship’s unloading crane, Herbie had a bird’s-eye view of the busy docks below. In fact, he could see quite a lot of the port city of Le Havre, France.
Herbie is a white Volkswagen bug with a big, bright “53” painted on his hood and sides, and the view wasn’t quite what he’d expected. A small frown crept between his pistons. Not a race track in sight! Odd! Herbie was sure that Jim Douglas, his driver, and Wheely Applegate, his mechanic, had brought him across the Atlantic Ocean especially to race. Then the cargo net started to descend, and Herbie spotted his friends down on the docks. He’d soon find out where he’d be taking them!
“There he is!” Wheely sang out when he saw the VW. “Look out Europe! Here comes Herbie!” They broke into a fast trot.
They knew their little white bug, Herbie, was someone extra special. Wheely knew every inch of Herbie  – from front to back bumper – and he had never located anything unusual tucked away in the fierce little racer, but he and Jim were sure that Herbie had a mind and a heart of his own hidden somewhere. No wonder they rushed to the unloading dock to meet Car 53.
I’m planning on reading the entire novel soon to enjoy more insights into Disney’s most famous car.
Stills from the movie
With all of the merchandise out there, I’m surprised that I have never come across a die cast model of Herbie, or rarely seen any type of Herbie collectible! For such a huge franchise, one would expect more product.
Be that as it may, I’m glad I found this book!
To conclude this post, I’ll leave you with the closing lines, that give us yet more insight into Herbie… and one of his co-stars:
In the shadows, two sets of headlights blinked gently on and off. Herbie and Giselle!
As they (Jim and Diane) watched, there was a gentle thump of two doors touching.
Softly, the Mediterranean moon beamed silvery light upon two silvery door handles. There was no doubt about it –
Herbie and Giselle were holding doors!
All together now: Awww!