Book Review: The Magic of Disney Storybook Collection

ISBN: 0-7868-3523-0

Type: Hardcover

Size: 9″ x 9″

Pages: 320

Publisher: Disney Press

Date: 2004

This is quite a nice collection of original stories featuring many of our favorite Disney characters along with a few lesser known or forgotten ones. There are thirteen stories in all. Some are:

    

I loved reading a story about Sport Goofy! It has been a long time since Goofy has played this character. Other long-lost characters show up in another story:

Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar

My wife and I got to pose with Horace in the Magic Kingdom in 2008. It’s nice to see classic characters making a comeback. Gladstone Gander and Scrooge McDuck also make appearances in separate stories.

Even little Figaro from Pinocchio makes an appearance as the mischievous pet of Minnie Mouse:

And this book also pens a tail (wait for it) of Mickey’s first meeting with Pluto:

It appears that Mickey filled in for a man at a pet store and took Pluto as his payment. It was a fun story!

One of the main things I liked about this book was the diversity of the artwork. Being published in 2004 one would expect the sanitized renderings used for merchandising, but instead we get retro, Golden Books, and comic strip styles of artwork.

Review: I’d give this book a 4.5 out of 5 Stars. A few of the stories took the easy way out with subject matter and some of the artwork was generic. But overall, for children, this would be an excellent reader. The text is large (20-point Cochin) and the sentence structure would make it easy for even younger ones to read for themselves.

This book is still available from on-line stores and is part of a larger series of storybook collections.

Book Review: The Grasshopper and the Ants by Margaret Wise Brown

This is one of my favorite Silly Symphonies (1934) and I have a few items of memorabilia featuring it in my collection. It’s a classic tale of industriousness versus laziness with the lead character, the Grasshopper, learning a sobering lesson… the hard way!

Grasshopper Ants 1

Let’s have a look at the story along with some of the artwork by Larry Moore:

Grasshopper Ants 2

Title Page

The Grasshopper is a happy-go-lucky fellow who thinks the world owes him a living, so he does nothing all summer but play his fiddle, dance, and eat whatever is within easy reach. In contrast, the ants are busy collecting food for the winter. They have no time to play!

Grasshopper Ants 4

The summer is quickly passing, but the Grasshopper just doesn’t care. He continues to play and dance.

After getting an ant to goof off with him, the Queen ant arrives and warns him of his folly. But the Grasshopper doesn’t listen and dances away.

Grasshopper Ants 6

Winter finally arrives and the Grasshopper finds himself without food and shelter. Near collapse, he comes upon the ants’ home. The ants are warm and safe, enjoying the fruits (literally and figuratively) of their summer-long labor.

When the Grasshopper knocks on their door, ten sympathetic ants help him in and care for him. But then he has to face the Queen!

He begs forgiveness for not listening to her warnings and promises to change. The Queen has mercy on him and charges him to play for the ants as payment for sharing their bounty. In the end, all are happy!

The book contains the following page about the author:

May 23, 1910 – November 13, 1952

I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 Stars as it covers the story well and has a very good moral for children, but without being overly preachy about it. The artwork is beautiful and rendered in a soft way. I take a half-star off because it may not have characters that children of today would warm up to.