Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation

Disney. Aug. 2019. 80p. chron. photos. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368028684.
Gr 3-6–Johnson and Bové showcase 20 influential women of the world of Disney. Starting with the two Mrs. Disneys—Walt’s and Roy’s wives, the book takes readers from the studio’s inception through the early 1980s. Johnson highlights each artist’s particular strengths. For example, Mary Blair is referred to as a “Color Designer Extraordinaire” while Mary Costa is said to be the “Voice of a Princess.” Notably, these wonderful Disney artists weren’t all white. Gyo Fujikawa, who worked as lead artist within the Disney products sector, was a Japanese-American illustrator from California. Berta “Bea” Tamargo, who worked as an animator on Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan, was born in Havana, Cuba. The charming illustrations are expertly rendered cartoons with a mid-century modern feel. Each biography features a photograph and a drawing of the artist. Most of the stories are given a double-page spread. Each spread has text written with a chirpy rhyme, which can wear a little thin. An appended time line goes from 1901, when Walt Disney was born, to his death in 1966.
VERDICT This is a young readers’ version of Johnson’s Ink & Paint, an oversize, wonderful tribute to the women of Disney animation. Like the Disney universe itself, this pared-down version of the original is magical. A finely written and illustrated inspiration

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