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!

Book Review: Disneyland from Windows to Happily Ever After

Author: Jeff Kurtti
Binding: Hard Cover (w/jacket)
Pages:160
Publisher: Disney Editions
ISBN: 978-1-4231-2905-9
Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 10.5 x 1 inches
Price: $24.95 US
Synopsis: A coffee-table book of evocative photography that gives a nice overview of the history of Disneyland. Disney Editions approached Jeff Kurtti about putting together a new hardcover that could be used to commemorate the Park’s 55th anniversary and that would be a book for the next generation of Disneyland fan.
  Circa 1957
Before and after
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is what it portends to be: an editorial and pictorial summary of Disneyland park from the beginning to the present. And by the present I mean just before the opening of Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. We only get concept artwork for that attraction, which isn’t a bad thing!
The book is divided into 7 main sections covering from 1952 to the present, with each section covering about a decade.
We are treated to images of old rides, concept art, construction photos, and parades and events of past and present. A nice all round look into the history of The Happiest Place on Earth.
Conclusion: I would give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 and note that this would be the ultimate keepsake for anyone who is visiting Disneyland for the first time, like my wife and I were just this past January. But even old time Guests will get a nostalgic kick out this book.
The only downside I could mention is that the writing gets a bit formulaic at times and comes off as a bit of an advertisement from the Disney corporation. But that’s probably just a bit jaded coming from someone who has read an incredible number of these types of publications.
And speaking of negativity, on to our next review:
 Author: Chuck Snyder
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages:26
Publisher: Disney Editions
ISBN:978-142310671-5
Price: $6.95 US
Review: This caught my eye immediately and I bought it without even opening it. That was a mistake. Definitely a good idea for a book, but very poorly executed!
Each of the windows featured in the book has a brief blurb about the recipient and an accompanying photograph. Unfortunately, the text is basic (which in fairness, that’s all such a small book has room for) and the photography is beyond amateurish. I’m sorry, but there’s no other way to say it.
Conclusion: I’d give this book 2 out of 5 stars because it only whets the appetite and leaves you feeling cheated. This is a case where ‘go big or go home’ applies.
One last review to end this post on a more positive note:
Author: Jeff Kurtti
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages:64
Publisher: Disney Editions
ISBN: 978-142312906-6
Price: $7.95 US

Review: This is a much better effort. It closely resembles the souvenir guides that have been a staple at Disney theme parks since the beginning. It’s primarily a pictorial effort which is fine by me! I would also say that it would be a good second choice if the same author’s book Disneyland Through the Decades (reviewed above) is too big or expensive for you. There is some duplication of images between the two books.

Conclusion: I would give this a 5 out of 5 simply because it does exactly what it is supposed to do. It gives a nice overview of Disneyland, in pictures, that a Guest can take home to remember the highlights of his visit.

Book Review: Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men

Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men
The Flipbooks
 Author: Pete Docter
  • Hardcover: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Editions; Gft Dlx edition (Mar 12 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423151050
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 14.7 x 17 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 Kg
  • Price: $60.00 US / $60.00 CAN

Content:

This box set of nine flip books pays tribute to Walt Disney’s original animators–the Nine Old Men: Les Clark, Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, John Lounsbery, Ward Kimball, Ollie Johnston, Mark Davis, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Milt Kahl. Each flip book features an iconic scene from an animated Disney feature in its original line-drawn form, having been selected from among a wide range of films for great movement and classic characters. The films include Alice In Wonderland, Dumbo, Fantasia, Peter Pan, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, and Pinocchio. Such iconic clips from the reel of Disney animation history include: Lady and the Tramp’s moonlit spaghetti dinner; Sorcerer Mickey’s ordeal with a horde of mops; and Thumper’s announcement that a prince has been born!
In addition to the flip books, the box contains a booklet providing additional information about the artists
Review:
This is a different kind of book set. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to flip through the nine books and to catch a glimpse of what an animator sees when proofing his work. But it’s a few minutes well spent!
Pete Docter obviously put a lot of love into this publishing project and it shows. The introductory booklet provides a wonderful insight into each of the nine men featured along with a ‘remembrance’ from a modern animator currently working for Disney.
We’ve all heard of Walt Disney’s nine old men, but now we can really get to know them!
Docter concludes the booklet with a section describing The Animation Process.
Conclusion:
Again, this is a very special book set, and as such won’t appeal to everyone. For the Disney or animation fan, it will be a welcome addition to any existing library. But it doesn’t take long to flip through it, literally, and so some may question the value at $60.00 US.
I would give this release a 4 out of 5 stars, mainly because of the value issue for the general public. And even many Disney readers may end up looking at it once and rarely again. But for the Disney fan, obviously it will rate higher!
I’d like to thank Disney Publishing Worldwide for sending me this preview copy. 

Book Review: Poster Art of the Disney Parks

Authors: Daniel Handke and Vanessa Hunt

ISBN: 1423124111

On Sale: 09/11/2012

Price: $40.00 US / $44.00 CAN
Ages: All

Imprint: Disney Editions

Description: Anyone who has ever walked through the gates at a Disney Park knows that there is a magical experience waiting to be had on the other side. Poster Art of the Disney Parks is a tribute to the colorful attraction posters depicting all the wonderful rides and shows created for Guests by the Imagineers.
Review: This is a beautifully illustrated 146-page large format book with high gloss paper. The images of attraction posters are clear and bright. A feast for the eyes, to be sure!
After the introduction by Tony Baxter, there are 9 chapters: Here You Leave Today…, Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, New Orleans Square and Liberty Square, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Disney California Adventure. The book ends with some acknowledgements and an Index by Artist.
What I like about how the chapters are broken down is that each covers the best of the poster art from all Parks around the world. This isn’t just a North American peek at the posters, but truly an International look.
So just what will you find inside the pages of Poster Art of the Disney Parks? Tony Baxter, in his introduction, says: “Many of the reproductions presented in this book qualify as great illustrations, while others define the word ‘poster’…” I couldn’t agree more!
Walt Disney intended the entrance to Disneyland to be like the lobby of a theatre, and so we understand why he lined the walls with attraction posters. They were meant to whet the appetite of the attendee for what was to come.
Each chapter has a few pages of text to explain something about the area of the Park represented, and some stories about the posters therein. This part of the book is valuable for Disney fans everywhere! Another feature of the book that I appreciated was the pages and pages of proposed attraction posters that never made it to the silk-screening process. We get a nice look at the rough layouts.
I’ll conclude my review with some fun facts:
  • Disneyland used silk-screening to render each poster, but Walt Disney World favored a 4-color lithography process.
  • An average poster could have 60 colors, take a month to complete, and cost over $30,000 just in the labor alone!
  • The poster program ended in the 1990’s but started up again in 2001 for the Tokyo DisneySea Park, thanks to the digital age.
Those are just a few of the fascinating facts you’ll learn in this book.
I’d give this one 5 out of 5 stars, which I hardly ever do! Normally, there is always something that the publisher could improve on, or something else that could have been included. But honestly, I can’t think of one thing that could have made this book any better!

 

I’d like to thank Disney Publishing Worldwide for sending me this preview copy.

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.