Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Recent and Upcoming Disney Books

It's been 18 months since my last extensive review of recent Disney-themed books. In this post I'm going to take a look at a small handful of Disney books coming out in the next few months, and then I'll provide an overview of a number of excellent Disney-related titles which came out in 2019.

First up: DISNEY MAPS: A MAGICAL ATLAS OF THE MOVIES WE KNOW AND LOVE, coming from Disney Press on August 11th. Two dozen maps depict the worlds of Disney and Pixar movies. It's said to be geared toward young readers, but I'm curious.

As I mentioned in my February 15th news link roundup, THE DISNEY MONORAIL: IMAGINEERING A HIGHWAY IN THE SKY by Jeff Kurtti, Vanessa Hunt, and Paul Wolski is coming September 15th. Based on the authors' track record, I know this book from Disney Editions Deluxe will be a must-have for Disneyland enthusiasts.

Also coming from Disney Editions Deluxe, a month after the Monorail book: WOMEN OF IMAGINEERING: 12 CAREERS, 12 THEME PARKS, COUNTLESS STORIES releases October 12th. I'll add a cover here as soon as it's available.

Now backing up to last year's releases! MARY BLAIR'S UNIQUE FLAIR: THE GIRL WHO BECAME ONE OF THE DISNEY LEGENDS is one of two books my daughter purchased for me at last summer's San Diego Comic Con. It was written by Amy Novesky for Disney Press.

I was thrilled to receive a copy autographed for me by the illustrator, Brittney Lee. MARY BLAIR'S UNIQUE FLAIR is a beautiful children's picture book illustrated in a Blair-inspired style which adult Blair collectors will also want on their shelves. I loved it.

My second book from Comic Con was PENCILS, PENS & BRUSHES: A GREAT GIRL'S GUIDE TO DISNEY ANIMATION, written by Mindy Johnson and illustrated by Lorelay Bove.

Johnson, the author of INK & PAINT: THE WOMEN OF WALT DISNEY'S ANIMATION and TINKER BELL: AN EVOLUTION, has this time written a book targeted for young girls. It contains brief biographies of several Disney artists, including Mary Blair, along with Disney animation model (and dancer!) Marge Champion and SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959) voice actress Mary Costa.

I met actor Don DeFore's sons, Ron and David, at the 2015 D23 Expo. I was glad when Ron contacted me to let me know of the publication of his book, GROWING UP IN DISNEYLAND, which I ordered as soon as it was available.

Don DeFore operated a restaurant, The Silver Banjo, in Disneyland's Frontierland from 1957 to 1961. The book chronicles the family's experiences spending a great deal of time inside the park thanks to the restaurant, and it also tells the wider story of Don DeFore's career and the family as a whole.

THE MAKING OF WALT DISNEY'S FUN AND FANCY FREE by esteemed Disney historian J.B. Kaufman sold out at last summer's D23 Expo, but I was able to order my copy from Stuart Ng Books in Torrance, California. It's also available from Amazon. Kaufman is the author of numerous volumes of Disney history including SOUTH OF THE BORDER WITH DISNEY and WALT DISNEY'S SILLY SYMPHONIES. The book was published by the Hyperion Historical Alliance Press, which hopes to releases similar books on specialized Disney topics in the future.

MY BOSS, WALT: MAKING THE DISNEY WILDLIFE SHOWS is by cinematographer Jack Couffer, who worked on THE LIVING DESERT (1953), NIKKI, WILD DOG OF THE NORTH (1961), and other Disney nature-themed productions over a span of three decades. I learned of this title thanks to Leonard Maltin and have not yet seen it myself.

I also haven't yet had a look at ONE DAY AT DISNEY: MEET THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE MAGIC ACROSS THE GLOBE, which tells the stories of the work of 80 different Disney employees on a single day. This was also the basis for a Disney+ streaming series.

High on my future wish list is WALT DISNEY'S ULTIMATE INVENTOR: THE GENIUS OF UB IWERKS, which came out last December from Disney Editions Deluxe. It was written by Iwerks' son Don, with a foreword by Leonard Maltin. Incidentally, the Disney-Iwerks connection is now in its third generation, as Don Iwerks' daughter Leslie directed by excellent Disney+ documentary THE IMAGINEERING STORY (2019), which I highly recommend.

The publication date has been pushed back several times so I don't know when we'll see it, but coming at some point should be WINDOWS ON DISNEY'S MAIN STREET, U.S.A. by Chuck Snyder, author of the 2009 WINDOWS ON MAIN STREET. The new book, which at 224 pages will be much larger than Snyder's previous small paperback, is due to be published by Disney Editions Deluxe.

I enjoyed Snyder's earlier book, and I also like another author's book on the topic, MAIN STREET WINDOWS: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO DISNEY'S WHIMSICAL TRIBUTES by Jeff Heimbuch.

Finally, here's Leonard Maltin earlier this month with a look at some of the books mentioned in this post.

Happy Disney reading!

Past Disney book roundups, with great ideas for additional Disney reading: June 2016; May 2017; and September 2018.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I must get all of those books for my kids for Christmas.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Seth said...

Well, you already know how much I'm looking forward to the Monorail title. I understand the Ub Iwerks book is fairly "technical," in that it includes lots of specific information on his special effects acheivements.

Speaking of Disney books, over the last few months, I've acquired the "new" set on Marc Davis, as well as the most expensive book I've ever purchased: DISNEYLAND, THE NICKEL TOUR. Now I just need to read them....

10:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks very much for sharing what you've heard about the Iwerks book, Seth. I've seen relatively little about it to date.

I've been wondering if the Marc Davis set is worth the very high price and would love to know what you think about it.

THE NICKEL TOUR is one of the true treasures among my books, especially as I'm a fan of postcards in general. I've been trying to remember where I got my copy many years ago -- it doesn't show up in my Amazon history. Maybe it was at Disneyland or an author/publisher website. Funny I can't remember when it was such a special purchase. I'm guessing but I think I paid in the range of $60 for it, and I know it goes for much more now depending where it can be found. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have -- this would be a good time for me to pull it off the shelf and enjoy paging through it again.

Best wishes,

11:27 AM  

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