Illustrated by John Pomeroy. Hyperion/Disney, 2018.
This stunning picture book biography follows pioneer animator Walt Disney’s creative journey from his small town in Missouri to the world stage.
* “This gorgeous biography relates the highs and lows of Walt Disney’s life, from his childhood in rural Missouri to his experimental cartoon shorts to the creation of Disneyland. Rapport lauds Walt’s admirable qualities, his drive and imagination, and sprinkles his famous quotations within her narrative. In simple, straightforward prose, she also touches on Walt’s controversial side, such as his unfair treatment of workers and disdain for unions. Pomeroy’s exquisite one-and-a-half page illustrations, however, are the book’s main draw. His sharp shading showcases Walt’s energetic facial expressions, and the thick paint casts shadowy creases in people’s hair and clothes, mimicking the realism and liveliness that made Walt’s groundbreaking animation so compelling. This celebration of Walt’s ingenuity and imagination covers the scope of his many visions while also making it to clear to young readers that he had to work hard and take risks to make his dreams come true.” Starred review, Booklist.
“Walt Disney may be a household name, but readers may be surprised to learn of the man behind the franchise. Rappaport introduces him as a child who found a reprieve from difficult family circumstances through performance and art. At 16, Disney joined the Red Cross and used his earnings to create his own animation studio; eventually, focus, determination, and ‘a mouse named Mickey’ led to Disney’s success. Readers well versed in early Disney cartoons will recognize familiar characters in Pomeroy’s art—he uses a rich, painterly style to convey moments from Disney’s life and legacy. Setbacks, including an animators’ strike and the onset of WWII, are offset by pivotal events, such as the planning and development of Disneyland. Readers may be particularly intrigued by details relating to the assiduous work of early animation.” Publishers Weekly
“This is a picture book biography that traces Walt Disney’s rise from a poor newsboy to an entertainment visionary and mogul. In the tradition of other Rappaport biographies, Disney’s story is told in anecdotes interspersed with quotes from the man himself. Attention is given to the technical aspects of early animation and filmmaking, as well as Disney’s legendary micromanagement skills. Rappaport does not flinch when describing the conflicts Disney had with his employees, his colleagues, and his brother, Roy. Colorful, realistic illustrations from Disney animator John Pomeroy are embellished with authentic looking Disney characters. Since it provides insight into how he got his start both as an animator and as an entrepreneur, this title would be a great supplement for a research project, though many Disney fans will find it interesting on its own.” SLC, School Library Connection
Compare these two photos of Marceline, Missouri’s Main Street where Walt lived during his childhood. Do you think it resembles Main Street in Disneyland?
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