Book Review: The Art of the Disney Golden Books

Publisher: Disney Editions

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 160

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6380-0

Price: $35.00 US & CAN

This is a great book for anyone who loves the Little Golden Books. I think we all have memories from our childhood of one title or another! The focus of this publication is the artwork, obviously, and it’s about time the artists and their work was featured.

The book is divided into seven sections: History, Art & Artists, Memories, Influences, Creations, Discoveries, and Legacy.

History: This section tells the story of how Disney and Whitman Publishing first started collaborations on Disney-themed books. Eventually Simon & Schuster launched the first Little Golden Book and history was made!

One of the first Disney Little Golden Books

Art & Artists: Briefly put, the goal was not to replicate the art of the movies but to create an alternate style more suited to the book format. Mary Blair was instrumental in designing the look of the early books.

Memories: Many current Disney/Pixar artists give their recollections of the Little Golden Books and how their young lives were affected by them.

Influences: More current artists talk about how their work is influenced by the artwork of the vintage work done on earlier Little Golden Books.

Creations: When Random House acquired the rights to the Little Golden Books in 2001 the line needed to be reimagined. This chapter tells that story.

Discoveries: In 1997 Golden Books was in trouble as a company and Disney sought to obtain all of the vintage artwork stored up and saved by them before it was lost! They succeeded. Whew!

Legacy: A short wrap-up chapter on the legacy built by this iconic brand.

Any Disney art fan can’t go wrong with this book and I’m surprised at the reasonable price. It’s beautifully illustrated and the information is informative without being exhausting. I would give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars as I can’t see how it could have been improved!

Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions of All Time

No matter how good a company is they are bound to make a mistake or two along the way to success. In the case of Disney their mistakes seem to be amplified because of the intense scrutiny fans put the company under.

But every company has to honestly admit that some decisions just have no defense! So here is my Top 5 List of the worst decisions that Disney has made:

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

SEQUELS

Just make it stop. Direct-to-video sequels is how it all began and we can only thank whatever the power was that stopped these bombs from being theatrical releases! But in today’s world most sequels are theatrical releases, like Toy Story 2-4 and Cars 2 and Finding Dory and soon-to-be Frozen 2 (kill me the day before it opens!) and and and and and.

Funny Story: After the success of Zootopia and its plus-billion box office take one social media source speculated that finally Disney would see the value of original stories and create more. Know what I thought? Here comes Zootopia 2! This time Nick goes back to Bunnyburrow with Judy and we have the typical reverse situation as Nick is the fox-out-of-water character and must learn to adjust to doing things a different way. Do I have a future writing sequels or what?

Don’t believe me that this could happen? I predict Zootopia 3 in 2022.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

ACQUIRING PIXAR

The original Brain Trust of Pixar came up with most of the first hit films for the company. And just about the time those ideas had been used up Disney acquired Pixar and things were never the same.

Pixar has shifted gears from wildly original films that touch our hearts to a long run of sequels that prove you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. With the exception of Inside Out most Disney/Pixar films have been disappointing. And there seems to be mostly sequels in the company’s future.

It was inevitable that Pixar would stumble at some point but it seems that the acquisition speeded that eventuality up considerably!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

REMOVING CAST MEMBERS FROM RIDES

Don’t worry, Disney has no plans to remove the Skippers from the Jungle Cruise. Or… do they? We’ve already lost the Cast Members from Living With the Land to be left with a recorded lecture and a computer-guided boat. This obvious cost-cutting measure could easily spread to more attractions!

I visited Disneyland and had the pleasure of riding the Storybook Canal boat for the first time with a Cast Member in costume giving us a lively and personal narration of the kingdoms we passed through. Unfortunately I spent the entire trip wondering what it would be like without our pilot. In the back of my mind I saw an accountant with a pink slip waiting back at the dock!

The Great Movie Ride and other attractions are all in the cross-hairs too. It could be only a matter of time before the only Cast Member you see is the one checking your lap bar.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

HOW D23 IS BEING HANDLED

At first it seemed like the perfect fan club for Disney fanatics and it did live up to that image for the first few years. But then came changes to the membership perks and magazine gifts.

The gilding completely fell off the lily when the majority of members started complaining about how the D23 Expo is handled. Unfair distribution of limited edition collectables and overcrowding are just two of the issues raised. Of course, that hasn’t stopped members from attending and renewing their subscriptions, so the problem isn’t at a critical stage… yet!

My worry here is that many Disney magazines and official fan clubs have failed and I just hope Disney has learned enough from those failures to listen to the complaints about this one and find a way to keep it alive!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

SHUTTING DOWN

I was in California at the El Capitan Theatre for the official kick-off of this excellent gaming system. It appeared to have all the earmarks of success and Disney gave it a big publicity push to get it started.

It had so many good features not the least of which was the beautiful and collectible play figures that were produced in series over the life of the game. The system made it to a 3.0 version before the word came down that Disney had had enough. But why scuttle such a wildly popular product?

The problem I see is that 2.0 figures couldn’t be played on 1.0 systems which changed my excitement to open disgust for Disney’s obvious money-grab ploy! And 3.0 figures can’t be played on 1.0 or 2.0 systems which means that not only would you have to shell out for new figures every year but also for new bases. I lost interest at this point. I think many others did as well and this probably led to a drop in sales which led to the real reason for the demise of Infinity: Money.

With billions of dollars being raked in from the movie division and the Marvel acquisition along with how well the parks are doing, surely Disney could have afforded to keep the Infinity brand going while changes were made to fix the declining monetary gains of the product. Disney needs to learn that sometimes short-term loses can be made into long-term gains!

CONCLUSION: Disney will continue to make bad decisions. Fans will continue to call them out on these bad decisions. Bloggers will continue to make Top 5 Lists to highlight the same bad decisions.