Book Review: Learning from a Disney Little Golden Book

Partial quote from the back cover of this Little Golden Book – “Is your life more ‘ho-hum’ than ‘heigh-ho’? Have you forgotten how to see the magic in the world around you? To get back that childlike sparkle, look no further than…”

Publisher: Random House

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 90

ISBN: 978-0-7364-3425-6

Price: $10.99 CAN / $9.99 US

Little Golden Books are timeless treasures covering many different franchises that have lived on children’s bookshelves for decades. Disney versions often contained both classic and contemporary characters, and this volume is no different.

As said, this particular volume features characters both old and new along with some more obscure references. Let’s have a look at some of the pages:

    

Examples of modern characters and art styling

    

Examples of older characters with vintage art styling

    

The two pictures above depict more obscure Disney references. On the left is Once Upon a Wintertime which was a segment in the 1948 Melody Time feature film. On the right is a cover picture from a Giant Golden Book published in 1944. Artwork was done by the great Mary Blair.

The book is laid out as a singular story extolling the virtues of living a good life and of how to do it. Disney characters are used to represent each motivational thought. Only a few words appear on each page making it easy to read to youngsters or for children to read for themselves.

The artwork is charming but my only complaint would be that the small print at the bottom of each page detracts from it.

Review: I would give this publication a 4 out of 5 Stars. The price is a bit high for what it is and I found the text to be a bit repetitive and contrived. Otherwise it is a great little (golden) book!

Book Review: Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

I was minding my own business (pun intended) while browsing the shelves of my local Chapters book store when I saw a huge poster on the wall advertising Creativity Inc. and I recognized right away that it featured an image from Pixar Studios! Immediately I went on a hunt for the book it was advertising.

Publisher: Random House Canada

Pages: 340

Type: Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-307-36117-2

Date: 2014

And what a book it was! Most Disney/Pixar fans will pick up just about anything that is related to these companies. This book however may not find its way onto as many home bookshelves as say, The Art of Tangled or The Story of Walt Disney. Why?

Fair warning: You really need to love reading and the inner workings of business to enjoy, or even understand, this book. But that’s not a bad thing! Stick with it and you will learn some fascinating history behind the making of your favorite Pixar films along with some insights into the characters of the men and women who made them.

But especially this guy:

Ed Catmull

We all know about John Lasseter and Steve Jobs and their contributions to Pixar’s success. But there are many more people who have made the company’s continued growth and profit possible. Ed Catmull is among these people. And he is generous in noting the hard work of others!

I can’t say much more about the contents of this book. To quote anything would be to print it so radically out of context that it would be impossible to understand. I think the book needs to be considered as a whole by readers who get the medal for finishing it!

Review: I’d give the book a 4 out of 5 Stars. I think many will find it a tad dry and a bit of a slog to get through. But I also think this is due to the nature of the material, and its primary focus on business, and not due to Catmull’s writing. However, it isn’t a book for every Disney/Pixar fan so I have to lower its mark because of this hampered appeal.

Personally though I’d say ‘buy Creativity Inc.’ because if you’ve ever worked for a company that was abusive to employees and made you wonder where common sense went, you’ll be uplifted to see how Pixar became a company that put people first.

Book Review: Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading

This series of books consisted of new stories and adventures and special adaptions of the Disney classics. Many favorite characters were used to assist youngsters in exploring the wonderful world of reading (appropriate, eh?)

By using simple vocabulary and exciting new illustrations that fully explained the text, these books were designed to encourage youngsters to read by themselves.

I have two from this series to share with you today. First is a continuation of the world created in the Devil’s Bayou for The Rescuers:

The swamp folks return

This story rewrites the ending of the original movie to leave Madame Medusa and Mr. Snoops in the Bayou, still looking for treasure.

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Beautiful artwork

Let’s have a look at the story as it unfolds:

Still looking for treasure, no matter who it hurts

As the dastardly duo dig here and there, they uproot and/or bury the swamp folks! This must stop…

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Evinrude flies again!

Evinrude flies to the affected folks and promises to go to The Rescuers for help. A change from the original movie is that this character can now talk…

Captain Orville at your service

So Bianca and Bernard race off to the Bayou once more to see what they can do…

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“Thank you for flying Albatross Air!”

So as not to spoil the book for you and your youngsters, suffice to say that Bianca and Bernard are able to foil and chase away Madame Medusa and Mr. Snoops so that the swamp folks are safe once again. Until the next book anyway!

Time to leave

All’s well that ends well! To see more of The Rescuers, check out this earlier post featuring a read-along book.

Now let’s have a look at the second book:

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Another fine mess he’s gotten himself into!

Mr. Toad just can’t help himself! He’s always getting into trouble and hurting his friends along the way. This book is about a bicycle, some hurt feelings, an apology, and maybe a new beginning for Mr. Toad…

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Again, nice simplified artwork

So the story all begins with the need to mail a letter…

That’s not his bike!

Even though Mr. Toad is warned that MacBadger’s bike has no brakes, he just can’t resist the call of the open road…

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And it doesn’t end well!

After having wrecked MacBadger’s bike, Mr. Toad faces the loss of his friend…

Mr. Toad tries to do his own paperwork

Soon Mr. Toad realizes just how much he needs his trusted friend…

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It was a dark and stormy night

Mr. Toad heads out into the Wild Wood to find MacBadger and bring him back…

Time to apologize

Mr. Toad convinces MacBadger to come back to Toad Hall…

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Will he or won’t he?

After buying MacBadger a new bike, Mr. Toad is tempted to steal it again, but he doesn’t… for now!

Both books are well done with nice artwork and simple stories that are fun and educational. I would give them a 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

There are literally dozens of these books in the series, as the lady I picked these up from (at a yard sale) said she had over 70 in her collection. These two were doubles she was selling off to buy more she didn’t have yet. You can still find these books on eBay and Amazon.

These books came from The Disney Book Club back in the day, and this club is still going. Simply click the link and you can get your youngsters started in the wonderful world of reading today!