Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for Planet X


Tessa Gratton continues the tween reading program for Star Wars: The High Republic with a follow-up to Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for the Hidden City. I hoped this time, new author, new setting, and mostly the same teen heroes would create a less gloomy situation.

Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for Planet X by Tessa Gratton tosses a Jedi Padawan and a young hyperspace prospector from the earlier book into the Hyperspace Chase, a race to find new hyperspace lanes. The duo joins a third youngster, a member of a powerful prospecting family member with an agenda of their own. They make their target Planet X, a world of great promises for all three of them. But their agendas and the Path of the Open Hand may stop the trio from obtaining their prize.

Gratton’s offering fits what is wanted for a tween book. There is action. There is adventure. There are crossovers to adult books from the High Republic. If anything, that is a little frustrating to me as here in the non-adult book we get part of the origin of the Leveler. And I’m even more frustrated as Yoda in other books makes the Leveler’s existence a Jedi secret, yet here we have a Padawan who fully knows of its presence, origin, and even name.

Where Gratton excels over some of the other authors in this round of stories is making members of the Path of the Open Hand more rational and intelligent than we have typically seen. They are not all brainwashed. They are often nice people. But they have gotten themselves caught in something bad by sincerely believing. Sadly, that’s more common than we might think in this world.

If anything I at times find myself asking, who is letting these children run wild through the galaxy? It’s dangerous out there for heaven’s sake. The funny thing is of the three young people, it’s really only the Jedi who don’t seem concerned that a youngster is unsupervised. Does this mean the Force is an acceptable emergency contact?

Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for Planet X by Tessa Gratton does what it’s asked. It provides growing readers with some fun and adventure from their viewpoint. I think I just wish it did not rely so heavily on the books in the series that may be a stretch for some readers who enjoyed this offering. Do those readers have somewhere to go next? It definitely was not as gloomy as the last quest book.

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Between Books - Marvel Masterworks Presents Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Volume 1


Sometimes I think it’s fashionable to question the writing skill of Stan Lee. Many want to credit him for his marketing and promotional skills, but not his writing. We all know that The Fantastic Four changed the comics industry. But often the credit goes to Lee’s co-creators and not Lee. But for me, I have often argued that Lee was someone who was creative and artistic and partnered with other fantastic creatives to make great things.

Marvel Masterworks Presents Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Volume 1 collects the first thirteen issues of the 1960s comic written by Stan Lee with art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. The stories depict the fictional United States Army Commando Nick Fury and his band of seven Howling Commandos. They are sent on secret missions in the European Theater of Operations, once to the Pacific. The missions are generally the same, something fantastical for non-superheroes to complete. And generally, Fury and his Howlers win the day (okay there are more volumes) through teamwork and fierce dedication to duty.

The stories are as good as any military action movie not based on a true story. Lee deals head-on with issues of class and race which were prevalent in the discourse of the 1960s. He does not hide from it but instead gives a very traditional conservative military landscape for these issues to be played out. And in the heat of battle, as one would expect, right often wins out. And while Kirby may have framed the action, we cannot forget that these messages were scripted with words given by Lee and are very consistent with his other writings on social issues.

There is a reality to this writing. This is a war story, not a superhero one. And yes, Captain America and Bucky do make a co-starring appearance. Yes, Baron Strucker is a villain, but he is one on par with Sargent Fury, not Captain America or future Agent Nick Fury. This volume reminds us that while Marvel is known for superheroes, we cannot forget comics including multiple genres including military, horror, and romance, formats that Lee, Kirby, and Ayers were all familiar with. A constant complaint about comic stories is that they often lack weight. If you are not Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, you can be killed and return again. But here, characters are killed, and we know they have passed. As a reader, you can feel the grief. Lee and his artists crafted tales they felt were real.

I have an unpopular opinion. Jack Kirby draws really ugly people. Often in comic books, this doesn’t work for me because superheroes are well pretty. Kirby’s art works perfectly here. This Fury is ugly. He is a dogface, unpretty, and not yet Marvel’s super spy. Dino Manelli, the pretty boy in the group and former actor, looks very different from the gruff squad leader. And of course fan favorite Dum Dum Dugan looks differently than both of them. Kirby’s art works perfectly for me, and Ayers when he picks it up matches pencil to pencil. They created a group of separate models that differ and do not merge.

I’d say don’t sleep on Marvel Masterworks Presents Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Volume 1. I found a kindle version for less than a dollar. Kindle Marvel collections often are put on deep discounts. Lee, Kirby, and Ayers were all veterans of World War II and clearly were passionate about telling the story of Fury and his men, giving it more realism than one expects from a Marvel title. The collection also reminds us why Lee and Kirby really were the masters of their industry, especially when collaborating together.

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Monday, May 15, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars: The Battle of Jedha



That’s how it started. I opened up the Kindle edition of Star Wars: The Battle of Jedha and saw it was a script, not a book and I could not do it. I returned the book immediately and requested the audiobook immediately! This was a good choice.

Star Wars: The Battle of Jedha by George Mann provides us with a narrative of a moment from the High Republic that other books have hinted at. The battle was a moment where the Path of the Open Hand challenged the Jedi’s ability to make peace in the Forever War, many Jedi were lost, and the Order was at a low point. The audiobook provides a dramatic account of the incident, complete with total audio production. The story covers a few days on Jedha as the Republic attempts to sign a major peace agreement, and the Path of the Open Hand attempts to strike silently at the prestige of the Jedi. The manipulations of the Path create a full-out battle on the world that we best know from Rogue One. There is a lot of action and fighting to keep the listener entertained.

No Yodas appear in this adventure.

I grew up loving audio shows. I had a volunteer experience where I could listen freely to old-time audio shows like The Shadow. And while I had read a script version of a Star Wars book/audio presentation in the past, I simply could not do it again. I needed the version as it was intended to be, an audio presentation with all its narration, acting, audio cues, and sound effects. And I was happy that I went to the story as it was meant to be. It was entertaining. It did its job, even being a tale from the High Republic which I am not in love with.

I do grumble a little bit about the Forever War…it’s lasted all of five years! That oddly does not feel like forever. Even in our world, the Forever War seems to have lasted a natural amount of time. I would have preferred a name like the War of Water and Sand! I just think the name was a little misplaced especially in a galaxy where the creators could have made it last 100 years or more.

This story also shows the Jedi to not be all the powerful and beloved space wizards we may expect. At Jedha, the Jedi are just one of many brands of Force users. Not everyone trusts the Jedi. This makes the manipulations of the Path even more believable. This is likely my favorite story point as we see Jedi vulnerable to galactic opinion.

I am a fan of audio productions. And Star Wars: The Battle of Jedha by George Mann is produced well with a professional cast and plenty of sound effects to keep a listener engaged. The voice actors help you care about these Jedi who you know nothing about due to voice inflection and acting. I support not reading this book and listening instead as the actors and production allow you to hear the script notes versus reading them and imagining what it should like instead. This entry is likely my favorite of the early High Republic stories, due to the well-executed production of the sound team to support Mann’s writing.

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Monday, May 8, 2023

Between Books - Agent Carter: Season One Declassified

Agent Carter: Season One Declassified has sat on my shelves for years wrapped in plastic. I popped it open wondering if this volume would better inform my one viewing years ago.

Agent Carter: Season One Declassified by Sarah Rodriguez walks readers through the first season of the 2015 ABC Marvel series. The book frames the question of how a Marvel One-Shot evolved into a series. Then Rodriguez provides an episode guide for each of the eight stories. And then finally, the book ends with production notes including special effects, wardrobe, hair and makeup, and other production services that lead to the final product of our home screens. The text is adorned with numerous striking color set photos and production art.

I am conflicted about this volume. Visually, the photos and art really pull us into Agent Carter's world. I find quotes from Hayley Atwell to be fun and delightful. But there are only, yeah just only, eight episodes. And while this is the same size as the other MCU art of books, it does feel a little thin. Television does have less production time than a movie, so there is a lot less art. Also, the book feels more publicity than behind-the-scenes secret sharing. The quotes and interviews provided to Rodriguez feel like publicity. And while there are a lot of set photos they feel like they have tossed every publicity shot onto the pages.

If anything, the thing that is frustrating to me is the book’s production. For example, 99.9999% of the photos have no captions. And since I have not watched this show in five years, I may have forgotten who some secondary characters are. Also, I have no idea who the producers, directors, showrunners, and other production staff are. There are pictures where a director may be speaking to Atwell, but please don’t ask me who that nameless man is!

Agent Carter: Season One Declassified by Sarah Rodriguez gave me a flashback to when Agent Carter was on TV and Disney+ didn’t exist yet. It was fun to remember and I found myself arguing to myself that I needed to have a rewatch soon. I guess that’s the win, it is a publicity book that convinced me I need to watch a series I have already seen. But I don’t feel like I unlocked the code of Agent Peggy Carter and her corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 


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Friday, April 28, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars: The High Republic Cataclysm


In Star Wars: The High Republic Convergence stuff happened. Star Wars: The High Republic Cataclysm launches from the earlier book’s stuff with worlds we don’t know, heroes we’ve just met, Jedi we barely know, and an enemy that we’ve never seen on film or tv.

Star Wars: The High Republic Cataclysm by Lydia Kang continues the second phase of The High Republic. Newly married Phan-tu Zenn and Xiri A'lbaran hope for peace for their warring worlds of Eiram and E’ronoh. Still, an unseen enemy works against the young heirs to the thrones of their worlds and they are separated after an attack against the potential peace. Xiri and a group of Jedi travel to Dalana to confront the Path of the Open Hand for their role in the potentially world-killing threat. We of course know that the Path of the Open Hand are really the big bad. On Dalna, numerous Jedi, politicians, and lost young people coverage for a massive battle where the Jedi may not have the advantage.

I did like this volume more than the earlier offering. I think there were numerous reasons. First, I had met the main cast before and had developed feelings about them. And with them being all newer cast members they were all at risk at every moment, so we have the tension that Kang likely wished to create. Second, Kang was able to avoid a trap other authors have been asked to take on, mentioning Yoda without actually showing Yoda. And in this case, we are able to see actions from both Yoda and Yaddle, two Jedi that are well-known to Star Wars fans. And I really do believe that having some familiar characters who we know will escape this battle is beneficial to the entire story

Also, this story is action packed It feels like the whole second half of the book is action. This fact provides a payoff for Star Wars: The High Republic Convergence. It is finally faster more intense action.

Honestly, I am still not in love with The High Republic! Sorry, it’s not for me. But this installment is likely my favorite volume to date. I do feel like Kang in Star Wars: The High Republic Cataclysm did succeed in providing a book that was packed with action and generally kept my interest.

Maybe I am a sucker for Yoda doing a thing instead of being talked about as a wise warrior who is so far off-screen that we know we will never see him swing a lightsaber. I have a feeling I am not the only one with that opinion.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Between Books - The Official Walt Disney Quote Book



Book cover for The Official Walt Disney Quote Book with a portrait of a smiling Walt Disney.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all the troubles and obstacles have strengthened me.” Walt Disney

That just has to inspire you as a Disney fan, even when you have a bad day!

We know the story. We know how it started and ended. And we know there was a lot of adversity.

The Official Walt Disney Quote Book by the Walt Disney Archives provides us not a story but quotes such as the one above to inspire our spirit, jumpstart our imagination, and provide us insights directly from Walt Disney. The book is divided into 21 chapters around themes such as films and animation, the Disney theme parks, television, animals and nature, family, life, wonder, and more. The quotes are a page or less in eye-catching fonts on pages embellished with pictures from Walt Disney’s life. While there is no index, as topics are easy to look for in their chapters, the Walt Disney Archives staff does provide an original source for all quotes and images.

This book is honest. It is a quote book, and there is no story provided. Though the themes of the chapters do provide some thematic cohesion that keeps readers from feeling like they are jumping from topic to topic to topic and I quite like it. The title is part of the Disney 100 campaign, with Disney Editions making it very visually attractive with its hardcover adorned by Walt Disney along with good use of fonts and images on the page. The text can easily serve as a thought jogger as one considers Disney and non-Disney topics.

I do have another Walt Disney quote book printed in the 1990s for the parks, which I have not reviewed. That edition is smaller and softcover. And honestly, it does not look as good on the shelf. It also has 100 plus chapters, which are really headers with multiple topics on the page and not thematic but in alphabetic order. That version may make it easier to find a topic, but it lacks the idea of moving together a story.

Is The Official Walt Disney Quote Book by the Walt Disney Archives for everyone? Probably not. It is however attractive visually and I like having it where I can quickly grab it when I need a Walt Disney quote. Yes, I could get those in an internet search too, but it doesn’t feel as satisfying as flipping the pages myself. Often times inspiration for me is easier to find on a page in my hand than a screen in front of my face.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars

Book covering of Star Wars Jedi Battle Scars showing the 4 crew members of the Stinger Mantis with a large image of an Inquistor in the background.

Cal Kestis…never heard of him!

Okay, maybe I heard about him with they started selling his lightsaber in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. I saw the excitement. I recognized the actor/model from Gotham. But I had no interest because I’m not a gamer and have never played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Also, many of you may have suggested that Star Wars books and I go on a break because the Old Republic has made me really grumpy.

But hey, I read these so you don’t have to…you’re welcome!

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars by Sam Maggs follows former Jedi Cal Kestis and the crew of the Stinger Mantis about a decade after the fall of the Jedi and Order 66. Kestis and his crew are drawn into a caper to acquire a super secret super powerful piece of technology before the Empire can get it. Leading the empire’s attempt to collect this item is an Inquisitor who is also seeking to kill or turn Kestis and his Jedi master. As the crew plans and executes their plan, we are pulled into all the emotions of the crew.

I am familiar with Star Wars. I know the general story of the Empire and the Jedi refugees post-Order 66. I know what Inquisitors are, I’ve seen them in comics, animation, and live-action. I even feel the pain of former Jedi as they hide from the Empire. So while I was not familiar with Kestis, there are enough context clues around me to put me into the story without me saying I know this world but this isn’t right and gosh now my head hurts. Basically, I think unlike the Old Republic the pre-knowledge from being tied to the already well-built Star Wars era makes this functional for me. So yeah, look at me not railing against this and being really mad. I was entertained!

This book is a caper. It is Star Wars: Firefly with Maggs (and the video game designers maybe) giving us a ship and a well-designed crew of misfits that many of us can see likable traits in. With my brain not hurting, I was able to slip into the story and just let it do its job, tell me a story. I was also willing to get to know the characters better.

Kestis wasn’t even my favorite character. It was Merrin the Dathomir Nightsister. Again, I think it helps that we’ve met Nightsisters before in Ventress and have been pre-delivered the background of these non-Jedi force users. Merrin gives us very “human” emotions of grief, trauma, and multiple versions of love. In fact, we see with Merrin a Star Wars character who does something I rarely believe happens in this universe, display intimacy.

Boom, Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars by Sam Maggs did the job. I was entertained! To me, that’s really the job of a Star Wars book. It is escapist fiction and works best when I get pulled into a fun adventure. Here, I also get the bonus of some real emotional character reflections that make me feel like this crew is, well, real.

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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Between Books - The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder

Book cover for The Story of Disney 100 Years of Wonder with shilloutes of Disney characters ringed along the edges of the book.

No hologram Walts here my friend!

The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder by John Baxter, Bruce C. Steele, and the Staff of the Walt Disney Archives is a companion book to the Disney100: The Exhibition which began traveling the world in 2023 to coincide with the Walt Disney Company’s 100th year. The book is broken into topics that include the foundation of the company, adventure, innovation, the parks, sound, and others. Since the book is topical, each chapter generally covers large spans of the company’s century of history and multiple subtopics. Each chapter comes across as an essay with a variety of supporting color images and interstitials that highlights historic people or moments.

This text is trying to capture in a visually pleasing way 100 years of history. This is a drinking from the firehouse situation. As a reader, you will get deep on nothing. But you will glance off a lot of Disney creations as they get namechecked for their historical contributions. It does at times feel like films and tv get more space than parks, but the parks-specific essay is in the last half of the book. If one was to teach a course on Disney history, The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder could serve as the textbook. But other texts would be required to ensure that students could learn deeply on specifics. The images are visually wonderful, as one would expect from the Disney Archives.

I do find it interesting how Bob Chapek is managed in this book. The book was being completed during the time that Bob Chapek’s tenure began to sour and eventually Bob Iger returned as CEO. Chapek is thanked for his interviews…but he’s never mentioned in the text of the book. But Bob Iger is really prominent as he adds color to the company’s history. I speculate that much of the real estate given to Iger speaking as the company’s leader may originally have been reserved for Chapek. And with him leaving the company, he was replaced and removed from the history. Disney can be very controlling of their history’s image. And I wonder if, like Michael Eisner, who is mentioned once, we will see Chapek have a historical return in a few decades, especially for his work in home video.

The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder
by John Baxter, Bruce C. Steele, and the Staff of the Walt Disney Archives is a celebration of 100 years. It is visually appealing with text that varies between historical examination and marketing speak, as one would find in D23 Magazine. And that is not shocking with contributors that are often asked to fill this assignment of informing fans about and marketing Disney products.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Between Books - Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks

Book cover for Walt Disney's Ultimate Invetor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks showing Iwerks drawing Mickey Mouse at an animation desk.

Disney history is full of larger-than-life characters such as Bob Gurr, Marc Davis, Rolly Crump, and even Walt Disney himself. But while Ub Iwerks may not be a name known to every Disney fan, his contributions to early Disney history are irreplaceable and placed next to Walt and Roy O. Disney on the Mount Rushmore of Disney legends.

Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks by Don Iwerks is a highly visual history of the co-creator of Mickey Mouse. The text is broken into six key sections highlighting different phases of Iwerks’ life. The opening outlines Iwerks early life and animation work which included meeting Walt Disney in Kansas City, a failed partnership, and Disney asking him to join him in California. During this first stint at Disney, Iwerks would create the Mickey Mouse design and lead the development of the innovative Silly Symphonies. After a disagreement, Iwerks formed his own studio best known for Flip the Frog. Iwerks would return to the Walt Disney Studio, not as an animator but using his skill and curious nature to create special effects which included Aerial Image Optical Printers, sodium traveling matte, and Xerox processes in animation just to name a few. As Walt Disney expanded his parks, Iwerks used his knowledge of cameras to create Circarama and Circle-Vision 360. The younger Iwerks provides images and schematics along with personal know-how to explain the innovations that helped define his father's genius.

This book is personal and visual. Disney Legend Don Iwerks is writing a very personal story about his father. Oh yes, there is definitely respect and nostalgia. But Don as a member of the machine shop was also a colleague to Ub. So along with understanding the personal man, he also understands the very complicated inventions that his father dreamed up. In many ways, it’s the best of two perspectives, and Don makes his bias clear. Though that bias never seems to get in the way of his writing. And technical expertise is really needed to help explain these numerous mechanical changes. For example, I am not a camera expert. I don’t believe that most readers will be. So having Iwerks walk us through the tech, as someone who often contributed to the manufacturing of them, is completely necessary. Luckily this oversized coffee table book has numerous images which help illustrate the developments. For those who are not interested in technical details and want another starting point on Ub Iwerks’ life, The Hand Behind the Mouse is likely a better starting point and is co-written by his granddaughter.

Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks by Don Iwerks taught me a lot about cameras…and Ub Iwerks. While I have read biographies of this legend, this text has a personal touch and technical understanding that I would urge Disney history fans to not sleep on. And while we may struggle at times with technical developments, Don Iwerks helps us overcome them to better understand his father’s genius allowing us to better understand an innovator that has helped shaped animation, cinema, and theme parks. 

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for the Hidden City

Welcome to Gloom, a world of ruins and monsters.

I mean, welcome to Gloam, a world of ruins and monsters.

Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for the Hidden City by George Mann is part of the second High Republic story campaign, which chronologically is before the first wave. This volume is for older child/young teen readers. In short, bad things are happening on the gloomy planet of Gloam. On this world a Jedi unit of Pathfinders, a father/son pair of hyperspace prospectors, and monsters all intersect for an adventure during the High Republic.

Yeah, my summary is short, It’s a pretty straightforward story of getting different groups onto Gloam and then pushing them all together. The story has a horror element, which I am not a fan of, but I didn’t get too scared. It reminds me a bit of the now non-canon Star Wars: Death Troopers or Star Wars: Red Harvest meant for older audiences but also giving a feeling of creeping doom.

I scratch my head about how this is all to come together. There are mentions of the Forever War and Jedha which are found in other books or mentioned. But all of the Jedi and non-Jedi characters are new. I am finding it very difficult to create a literary relationship with any new characters. Mann’s writing is fine and very much at the reading level of his audience. I just wonder if we replaced the word Jedi with Wizard if some of these books would be better off on their own without a Star Wars label.

Oh, do not worry! I am not done with these Star Wars: High Republic wave two books. Star Wars: The High Republic Quest for the Hidden City like it’s predecessors failed to be the key to open up this new chapter of Star Wars literature for me. But maybe the next offering will get a less gloomy opinion from me.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Between Books - Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie

Book cover of Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie showing Chris Hemsworth as Thor holding a sparking Mjolnir

I like Thor: The Dark World more than you!

I’ve never met anyone who legitimately seemed to enjoy it, to the level I did. So a few years ago I bought a copy of Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie because for that devotion and being a collector I had to catch them all after reading a few others. Then it sat on the Between Shelves, and I saw the prices of the rest and there was no completionist urgency in the world to get me to finish the whole set. And so that pages figuratively rotted on the vine till now.

Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie by Marie Javins and Stuart Moore takes readers through the journey to construct the movie of the same name. The book discusses general story settings of the journey such as looking at Asgard and Svartalfheim. A big emphasis is really on the scenery and the breakdown of scenes, where character development explanations are generally smaller portions of the book. The text is filled with a lot of concept art and storyboards.

I have read a few Art movie books. And this was generally not a favorite for me. As I mentioned, this book is a lot about the scenery and I feel like a lot of Art books give us greater detail on how the plot is developed. This book goes deep into how the worlds were physically and virtually built and not the story. The characters are also not fully discussed in their evolutions either. For example, the book discusses the replacement of metal with rope and fabric in Thor and Odin costumes but I don’t believe it really explained how the characters softened internally. And while one of my favorite model breakdowns was creating the dark elves, the evolving models did not really build characters but really attempted to show a visual representation of stock not-nice elves.

And while the art is beautiful and grand in scope, especially when showing backgrounds and scenery. But I also think there are too many black-and-white storyboards in this volume which cover numerous pages of the book. They are to me not as visually interesting as the giant splash images. And while I can see how concepts moved from page to screen, they did not differ to me enough to show me an evolving thought process which is often the most interesting thing in these books.

As someone who collects, completing a full set of Marvel Cinematic Universe art books seemed impossible to me. The secondary sales of some of these volumes were well beyond any price I might consider. I think this is why this volume sat unmoving on my shelve…why read it when I can’t catch them all. But hope has returned as Marvel has announced a new printing of 24 volumes of MCU “Art Of” books. Though I think I may have lost the desire to fill out the full set. 

I’m a weirdo. I may have liked Thor: The Dark World more than Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie. It is a fine volume. It does what it is asked to do by giving a visual description of how some concepts went from page to screen. But it lacked the discoveries that I really enjoy in this book genre.


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Monday, February 27, 2023

Between Books - Disney's Theme Parks and America's National Narratives

Book cover for Disney Theme Parks and America's National Narratives showing a large crowd in front of Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World.

I started this book and couldn’t get past the first page. I just couldn’t read it. And that’s why I got glasses!

It has been a while since I have read a monograph with smaller type, smaller pages, and with only occasional pictures. And the addition of glasses did make me feel like an academic reading a book for scholars.

Disney Theme Parks and America’s National Narrative: Mirror, Mirror For Us All by Bethanee Bemis hypothesizes, argues, and defends an academic thesis about the history and culture of the United States and Disney Parks. Bemis puts forth that Disney theme parks are a physical location where the American public negotiates the meaning of what it means to be American. She looks at five points of contact. She examines the use of American folklore and myth in the parks, Disney characters as American symbols, the transformation of folk history into an experience, the legitimization of Disney’s version of history by national figures and organizations, and finally Disney's use and evolution of history in the theme parks. Bemis argues that what is reflected in theme parks are not just conservative viewpoints but an evolution of how Americans see themselves. The book chapters delve into these topics, by demonstrating numerous examples in a short number of pages. For example, “Mickey Mouse/White House: Celebrating American Indentiy at Disney Parks” provides an overview of every President’s relationship since Dwight D. Eisenhower with the Disney Parks. In this chapter, special focus is given to presidents like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan who had more than glancing visits to the parks. And Bemis uses these examples to show the messages that Presidents were delivering using the parks for context and emphasis.

Bemis is a well-trained and respected academic with ties to the Smithsonian. She writes for an academic audience with numerous citations and a reference section that shows she’s done the work. The writing is clear and straightforward. And honestly, I feel like it’s accessible to the non-academic reader. But. this is a very different tone than a memoir, biography, or even non-academic history with a goal of entertaining. This is not a fireside or bedtime read, this is a monograph, a complex study. And that tone may not attract all readers. Also, this is a $40 book, which while a standard for an academic monograph may be too pricey for a 120-page book with limited pictures.

As I read through this book, I do feel Bemis very much depicts a relationship between the parks and American people that evolves. And while American history and even Walt Disney himself were often conservative in nature, there are many pieces of clear evidence that show the parks evolve along with society. I think the most impactful evidence for me of this evolution is Disney’s view of Gay Days. Bemis shows us how Disney had negative reactions to same-sex relational displays in Disneyland, to their caution but allowance to the first Gay Days events, to current corporate acceptance and support. Bemis shows us how the American viewpoint on this issue evolved the parks’ changing narrative making her point about the changing narrative.

Many early academic Disney books were, to be honest, attacks. The Disneyfication of American history is painted in a negative light as it may have glorified patriotism and ignored peoples and minority groups. I fully see the point that Bemis is making, the park narrative, which is not a true depiction of American history, has evolved as guests interacted with the parks. But what you look for, one will find. And I can see how those who believe that Disney parks and executives are immoral agents manipulating historical views, would be validated by this study. And I can see how those who believe that Disney creatives have only good intent would also be validated. In the end, Bemis to me paints a picture where the parks and the people for good and ill have informed each other. And it is a much more interesting and complex relationship of gray instead of black and white.

Professional academic Disney works are coming! They are not marketing. They are not Disney-sponsored history. They are not love letters from fans. They sometimes require reading glasses! Disney Theme Parks and America’s National Narrative: Mirror, Mirror For Us All by Bethanee Bemis is part of this professional trend. The monograph would likely not be for everyone, as it is not as fun or nostalgic as a memoir or entertaining secrets account. But it does paint us a valuable picture of how an entertainment company can be influenced by society, and how that narrative can be mirrored back to the people.

And it appears that thanks to Bemis I can see clearly now! 


Review Copy Provided by Routledge

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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars: The Halcyon Legacy

Book cover for Star Wars the Halcyon Legacy showing a Jedi wookie standing in front of an image of the Halcyon


I love it!

It may not be for everyone, but I generally am a fan. And with something as big as the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser it’s all departments on deck as Marvel supports an ambitious new hotel experience!

Star Wars: The Halcyon Legacy written by Ethan Sacks with art by Will Sliney takes readers on a historic journey on the fictional galactic starcruiser. We join a grandfather and granddaughter on a voyage when it is stopped by pirates. The space pirates are seeking out a spy for the Resistance, and they hope to be rewarded by the First Order for turning over the agent. During this crisis, the Halcyon’s logistic droid Deethree Ohnine tells the family stories of past events, including one that involved the grandfather. These tales also give Star Wars fans moments with The High Republic, Aurra Sing, Asajj Ventress, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Lando Calrissian, Hondo Ohnaka, and many more. The stories together paint a picture of a cruise liner with a long history of intrigue and adventure.

Overall, the story is what you expect for a comic book tale. And it is written clearly and approachable especially for younger fans. I assume that Disney and its subsidiaries did require that the story include a large number of tie-ins…for synergy. The art is well done and gives you the visual reference you need to enter the Star Wars universe.

Huh, so you want to open with a story about the High Republic? I get that the High Republic is a massive Disney publishing program. But do you really want to open with that? To me, this comic has a purpose. Okay, I will agree that Sacks and Sliney had the purpose of creating an enjoyable story. So two purposes. Purpose two, as likely seen by Disney as purpose one, is to get guests excited about Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. I’d also argue that kids are a great target for the comics format. I am not convinced that kids really know anything about the High Republic publishing effort. I’m not convinced as a Disney adult that the High Republic, especially wave two, is successful also. So while I get the references to the newest trilogy, especially how it aligns with Batuu, I scratch my head with the inclusion of an era of Star Wars that is really only on the page at the moment.

To continue to overstep myself, I think if Disney Parks, Lucasfilm, and Marvel wanted to really use synergy this story should have gone a little differently. First, we only get to see Captain Keevan in the story from the actual park experience cast. I think they could have added more current crew to the story. That would have better prepared you for who you will meet on the Halcyon. We really don’t get to see as much of the ship as I wanted. And I still scratch my head that anyone can do lightsaber training after tv has shown us they are super hard to use (nerd alert). Second, I would have rolled into the moments that older Star Wars fans may really have wanted, the original trilogy cast on an adventure. I think this would have been a perfect moment to adapt Princess Leia’s and Han’s honeymoon into comics. They’ve adapted entire Thrawn novels into comics. And this would have been a great moment to give that story some visuals. Now that is synergy and maybe help get Disney some bookings. And spoiler, younger fans like that first group of heroes too!

Star Wars: The Halcyon Legacy written by Ethan Sacks with art by Will Sliney is a fine representation of a comic book that can be enjoyed by numerous audiences. I just see the ability to better apply synergy. I think that Disney could have better used this opportunity to get bookings by making guests feel both informed and excited about a vacation of a lifetime. I would have simply recommended sprinkle in more of who we know and who we will see.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Between Books - Not Just a Walk in the Park

Book cover for Not Just a Walk in the Park showing Jim Cora standing in front of a Disney castle.

Do you want to talk about the Disney navy? Did you hear about the time Disney almost bought an aircraft carrier?

Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career by James B. Cora with Jeff Kurtti outlines the late Disney Legend’s life and career. Cora begins his tale with a story of immigrants. Cora’s family immigrated from Lebanon before his birth. This resulted in a circumstance where his complexion and culture made him feel out of place. Cora entered the Air Force after high school, and post-service balanced school (which he struggled with), and a job at Disneyland (which he flourished with). Cora would be noticed by Van France and Dick Nunis for his ability to train and organize. After ten years that saw Cora move between Disneyland and Retlaw, he was asked to help oversee the on-site development of Walt Disney World with an eye toward operations. This established Cora as a Disney projects expert which launched him into decades of international adventures with roles overseeing development at Tokyo Disneyland, Euro Disney, Tokyo DisneySea, and unbuilt concepts as the leading executive for Disneyland International. Cora would retire after 44 years of Disney projects, but in his later life, he continued to make himself busy mixing his project, operations, and storytelling expertise to continue to delight his audience despite significant health problems.

Honestly, I was not aware of much of Cora’s career. And his writing is clear, and to the point, and I imagine his tone. He writes a book that is not just about Disney, but also his family's legacy in the United States, his personal failures, and his attempts to hold to a strong operational standard. I found myself amused by stories that were best told by him, like a pitch to purchase a scrap aircraft carrier to create a mobile Disney park. Cora also had a great vantage point to compare the creation of Disney parks in Japan and France. Spoiler, he found the Japanese to be the superior group of managers to work with going so far as suggesting their staff and not Americans may be the best trainers abroad. His life gives us a view from the middle of the hierarchy in getting Disney projects made abroad and lessons on managing up. As someone who grew up in the Eisner era, I enjoyed the stories of Michael Eisner asking for medical advice, while neither Cora nor Eisner should have been working. And the tales of the supportive Frank Wells just help to make him even more endearing.

I recently had a conversation about networking. I don’t like it. I am just a little too introverted. And I would like to think that my work and effort are what I should be evaluated against. I really get the sense that this is how Cora saw life too. He was raised by his parents to be hardworking. He was proud of what he did. Cora points out Disney Legends, such as Marty Sklar, who knew better than him how to be political in the office. But I think it is likely this what you see is what you get, and what is get is pretty darn good, which led figures like Dick Nunis to rely on him. And Cora himself did not suffer fools. His text has several references to organizational tendencies that he felt lacked efficiency. And there are stories of executives who lacked the proper work ethic or Disney spirit. Not everyone liked Cora, he at one point was key in corporate layoffs. But at least in his writing he also showed a very human side of himself.

Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career had been on my to-read list for around a year. I’m really glad that I added it to my Between Books. Sure, it’s not a book filled with excitement and artistic lessons. And there is a lot about operations and career building, which I appreciated. But most of all while I am getting older in Betweenland, it reminded me that I have a lot to still contribute. And that everything behind me, can lead me to situations where I can still give to others.

Thank You, Mr. Cora!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Dreaming Disney - 50 Years of Magical Learnings


Professionally, I have spent over 20 years in education. This has always put the Disney Institute courses on my radar. But they were dreams. I could not afford this training which primarily was site-based courses where one might also get to visit a theme park. I mean I am down with combining education and theme parks.

The pandemic changed everything.

Education went online, including the Disney Institute.


In 2022, I had to change a lot about my life due to the pandemic’s impacts. As I reviewed my next steps, I also ran across an online Disney Institute course celebrating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. My wife and I decided to sign me up partially to entertain me, and partially to keep me thinking about the business world. I think we both decided that the course was going to be highly fact and trivia based. Instead, I got a business-focused management course that one could place on LinkedIn…if others understood exactly what the course entailed.

“50 Years of Magical Learnings” is a 30-plus module course that combines Walt Disney World Resort history and business principles. Each lesson uses a variety of text, video, interactive activities, and journaling to convey business lessons seen in the history of Walt Disney World. The segments can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to complete. Topics explored include employee recognition, continuous improvement, telling a story, customer service, safety and so much more. Seven of the lessons include insights for Disney executive George A. Kalogridis who served as the 50th Anniversary Ambassador, which allow him to reflect on his professional journey as he moved through the resort leadership.

The content varied in content, but the majority of it was helpful and relevant to a professional journey. Instead of completing a course in one sitting, I spaced it out for nearly a year trying to complete one module a week. My payment did give me access for a year. And during the year new modules were released as they further developed the course. It provided me with a good professional development opportunity that I controlled and could drop in and out of as needed. I will admit I did struggle at times with some of the journaling as my career path went up and down a few different roads. I enjoyed it, professionally, as it framed issues within a familiar to me setting. And the content and videos were professionally developed.

Financially did it make sense? Pre-pandemic these courses were well outside of my price range and I did pay out of pocket. The course at the time I enrolled was $399. We found a deep discount that made it even more financially viable. And since I spent a year engaging the content it felt like an investment in me. The courses on leadership, employee engagement, and customer service are listed as taking 45 to 60 minutes for a cost of $199. Therefore, I found myself feeling like I got a steal for the year. I do intend to add the completed course to my LinkedIn. My only worry with this choice is that someone might think it is a trivia course and not a business course. But hey, that wouldn’t be the first Disney-related business entry on my resume. I also am considering paying out of pocket for an additional shorter course.

“50 Years of Magical Learnings” may attract Disney fans with the promise of stories and facts about the Walt Disney World Resort. But it is packed with leadership and business content wrapped into a well-produced professional development course. I do prefer the way I managed my course completion allowing myself to marinate and reflect on the lessons instead of rushing quickly through the lessons while they jumped past my eyes without thought.

Let’s be real. Unlike required corporate learning, I paid for this. And hey…Mickey Mouse!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Between Books - They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era The 1950s and 1960s


Short Version - They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era The 1950s and 1960s by Didier Ghez, as expected is really good. And with the inclusion of the Blairs, Disney readers will likely be familiar with two of his five subjects.

Long Version - They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era The 1950s and 1960s by Didier Ghez continues an exploration of the contributions of Disney story artists to animated shorts and features. Ghez provides a short biography followed by numerous pages of concept art for Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreh, John Dunn, and Walt Peregoy. Readers can explore the images created for films such as Alice in Wonderland and 101 Dalmatians. These images show an evolution from paper to cell for the movies which gave many of us joy during our childhoods.

The book follows the same format as the other volumes in the series. The biographies introduce readers to the artist, their Disney journey, and their post-Disney careers. This is followed by numerous color images which are visually pleasing. Mary Blair may likely be the most prominent featured artist to date. Sadly, this is the biography that I found the most lacking. Disney fans know a lot of her time after leaving animation between her fine art and Imagineering contributions. I found the Blair entry to be shorter in the post-animation days than other narratives. For me, I found the entry of Tom Oreb to be more interesting due to the combination of an introverted personality, interesting art, and concepts that appeared to be delivered straight to the movie theater with an artist that we generally know less about.

If you are deep into Disney animation history, you likely already have They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era The 1950s and 1960s. If you are that person and you don’t have a copy yet, you likely will in the future. This series is just so visually pleasing, it really is a must-read and collect.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Between Books - 2021-2022 Hyperion Historical Alliance Annual

I blinked and somehow the third Hyperion Historical Alliance professional journal escaped my notice. And then I saw it on Amazon…at a price that is simply a steal.

The Hyperion Historical Alliance Annual 2021-2022 consists of 5 scholarly articles on different topics in Disney History. “Bianca Majolie In the Story Department” by Didier Ghez delves into Walt Disney classmate Majolie’s time and contributions to story. “Drawn to Disney: La Verne Harding and Fred Moore” by Tom Klein discusses the influence of Disney Legend Moore on animator Harding at a non-Disney studio. “Walt Kelly in the Story Department” by Ghez outlines the contributions of Kelly in story. “Walt Disney Left His (Post)Mark on the World” by Maggie Evenson narrates the history of Disney postage stamps. And “Presidents, the Nixon Tapes, and the Disney Parks” by Bethanee Bemis chronicles presidential visits in the United States parks.

Overall, the Annual is scholarly writing. They are essays that have been researched and documented just like one would expect to find in the Journal of Insert Discipline Here. And that is really the point as the Hyperion Historical Alliance attempts to frame the group as a scholarly endeavor. For me, the most impactful essay was by Klein. The entry helped to flesh out a portion of Moore’s life for me, his exile from the studio. But it was also a strong reminder that due to prejudices, the Disney studio was not all it was meant to be. Harding was a wonderfully talented animator. But as a female professional, she would not be able to enter Disney at the position she had earned. I believe I spent around $3 on this journal. And that essay was well worth the purchase to me.

Of course, my yearly grumble is the lack of democracy among the Hyperion Historical Alliance. They want to be a professional organization taken seriously. So they have done much to close membership and stay labeled as scholars. While other organizations like the Society of Baseball Research (SABR) have sought to crowdsource research and build a community. I honestly would be very willing to pay $30-$40 for a copy of the journal, an online community, meeting discounts, and maybe a webinar or two. I heard Ghez discuss a PowerPoint presentation given to members about project status. And I would have loved to see it discussed. So yeah, there’s my yearly plea to consider opening up membership at a supporter/ally level. Because we Disney fans have some power and we want more Disney history.  I see that Heritage Auctions supported the publication of this latest edition, and I think Disney history fans would support this effort also.  And I would remind everyone that SABR has done an excellent job promoting baseball scholarship to the point I have been associated with history departments that taught baseball history seminars.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Between Books - Star Wars: The High Republic Convergence

Not that Jedi!

Not that desert planet!

Not those star-crossed lovers!

Not that droid!

Not that handsome rouge!

Welcome back to the High Republic!

Star Wars: The High Republic Convergence by Zoraida Cordova continues the Disney/Lucasfilm experiment of giving us Star Wars without a Skywalker. Star Wars’ books can be hard for me as this is a visual universe, yet I can’t stop reading them. I blame the collector in me. I just wondered if this would fare better for me than my last outing in an era before the Clone Wars!

Somewhere on the edge of the Republic, two planets that we have never seen in the Star Wars universe are in an endless war. The Republic and the Jedi send aid and attempt to end this conflict. But it is really the role of a royal from each planet to solve this problem and help these worlds move forward into peace. Outside of this resolution, a threat we’ve seen before in the High Republic lurks in the shadows hinting of more schemes and conflict to come.

I have intentionally left the names of the worlds, Jedi, royals, and other details blank. To be honest, other than name-checking Yoda, Coruscant, and Jedha there is not a lot of detail that ties this book to the rest of the Star Wars universe. I prefer to think of this as a standalone story that does not rely on Star Wars details to make it work. To me, the central characters are the royals and their struggles for peace and everyone else including the Jedi are really set decorations. Now that being said, I think that this book is attempting to move forward the struggle between the Jedi and a threat that we have seen elsewhere. But other than the Jedi and the antagonist who hates the Jedi, there is not a strong connection to other High Republic books.

I will admit, this was a hard story for me to get into. And it could have been in the first 20-30% of the story I was trying to slot the tale into Star Wars and the High Republic. Once I made it a story of the two young Royals who by this time in the book were better fleshed out, it was a more enjoyable read. But the struggle with the whole High Republic concept is trying to create new Star Wars without the figures we know at least in support. And it may also be lacking in the fact they are not or cannot use the figures from comics and books that fans love and are no longer considered canon. I feel like they are attempting to not overexpose Yoda during this timeframe, and maybe it’s best to toss him into the center of a story.

Overall, Star Wars: The High Republic Convergence by Zoraida Cordova did better for me than the last outing in the High Republic. But that is because I focused on the two completely new characters who were not Jedi and had literally the least to do with anything Star Wars that I read before. I’ve heard Marvel and DC authors state that the key to pitching a story is not to make it a Spider-Man story but make it a story that functions with a hero who may remind you of Spider-Man. In the end, that’s how I chose to read Star Wars: The High Republic Convergence. The Jedi became wise warrior wizards to me. The Republic was an outside intrusive and also helpful government. And the unseen antagonist…I just tried to push them out of my mind. Because I think without the baggage of Star Wars I would have gotten into this story faster and more intense.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Between Books - The Imagineering Story


It’s a brick!

Don’t get me wrong, bricks are good. Bricks give us firm foundations.  

When I ordered The Imagineering Story, I saw the 700-plus pages and had a thought. It’s an oversized art book? That many pages just have to be filled with a lot of pictures, definitely more than text. It will definitely be artful, fun, and light.

There are five pages of pictures…and all in the front of the book!

Stop thinking art books, and start thinking 700-page fiction fantasy or thriller because this book is just as wild of a ride as any of those! And it is all words my friend!

The Imagineering Story: The Official Biography of Walt Disney Imagineering by Leslie Iwerks is more than a companion to the Disney+ series of the same name. She documents the actions of Walt Disney Imagineering from Walt Disney to the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. She draws a line of artists, creators, and business people who shared a common mission, “to create fun.” Iwerks provides a deep narrative that moves from park to park and milestone to milestone for Disney creatives. While giving us a history of things and events she adds multi-page biographies of Imagineers that often includes how they were recruited by Imagineering and their impact on an important project. The writing is clear, detailed, and consistent. And while it is not an academic press, it is clear that Disney sees this volume as exactly what the title claims “the official biography.”

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Iwerks overall keeps a calm tone. It is one that neither gets too high nor too low, it is honest and consistent. So while readers may come up against names that give them internal frustration, Iwerks avoids name-calling and dirt-digging. Everything is neither always good and never always bad. It is just frank here are the facts. It is likely this tone that allowed her to talk about some low points in Imagineering history in both the book and series in a Disney-sanctioned program. Let’s be honest, Disney does have a tendency to paint a rosy at all times picture. And Iwerks does not have to run away from the bad times for employees and the parks. I am still shocked that Michael Eisner was given such a big role in her series, and I am all for it. In the end, Iwerks can go places that maybe Disney marketing may not have preferred because to be blunt she wasn’t looking to flame anyone, she’s just providing facts.

Personally, I really liked her biographies of Imagineers. And yes as expected we get our Tony Baxters and Kevin Raffetys and other well-known figures. But I must admit, I was shockingly under informed of the career of Disney Legend, and guest star of The Mandalorian, Wing Chao. These biographies also answered questions for me about some Imagineers I saw in the program. For example, Doris Woodward was a new to me Imagineer, and Iwerks has time on the page to give us the background on this key leader for Shanghai Disney. And maybe these biographical asides were my favorite part as they allowed me to connect with people.

As Disney fans, we have dreamed about staying overnight in a Disney park. In the United States, we dream of winning an in-park suite for the night. Or we daydream of getting locked in by accident. Internationally, we may have the opportunity to stay in a Disney hotel in a park. But in 2011, 70,000 guests were marooned in Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea after a devastating earthquake and national tragedy. This is not how I would like to be staying overnight in a park, especially with cold temperatures. And Iwerks’ retelling of this incident has stuck with me. It shows that we may not know everything and The Imagineering Story has so much Disney history something that you’ve never read about is going to be in here. And Iwerks’ clear writing creates drama and tension.

The biggest personal issue I have with the book is a lack of an index and a lack of cited sources. Lack of index is likely my biggest future problem. This book is huge. And really one does need a map to go back and find content for future projects. Even writing this review required me to dig to confirm content a little harder than I really wanted to. Have I mentioned this book is huge? The lack of citations I am going to give her a pass on. Iwerks is a filmmaker, not a historian. I have a history background and I like to see the work. Iwerks relied heavily on interviews and internal sources and when quoting someone she always gives you the speaker in the text. She had access to the Disney Archives and most of all the people who lived the creations. We must remember that Iwerks is the granddaughter of Mickey Mouse’s co-creator and the daughter of a Disney film legend. Disney Legend could be the family crest! She is more focused on telling a story of creating fun, and her lack of citations keeps moving the story she’s telling forward of creativity and innovation.

In 2023, we enter the one-hundredth year of the Walt Disney Company. The Imagineering Story is the beginning of a book program to support this milestone. And Leslie Iwerks gives us the first good brick in the magical year’s foundation.

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Thursday, January 5, 2023

Between Books - Space Mountain

I am just not sure that the audience for the Little Golden Book Space Mountain by Nicole Johnson, illustrated by Mike Wall, and designed by Winnie Ho meet the height requirements for those wishing to enjoy the Disney attraction. The book follows a family, minus dad who is too scared, as they board, enjoy, and rejoin dad after enjoying the attraction. It is a clear-cut story with illustrations filled with brilliant colors. The Space Mountain featured in the story is clearly found in the Magic Kingdom due to the seating formation and being adjacent to the PeopleMover, because us Disney adults need to know.

I am not joking when I say Space Mountain’s audience likely do not meet the height requirements. It really is for a young child audience. And while other Little Golden Books may prepare a young rider to me this really communicates my friends and family on the ride will be okay. The book does not really match the ride scenes. For example, the book is wonderfully colorful and lacks darkness. Also, the scenes found on these pages do not match the actual attraction route. For example, I have never found any bake goods on the real-life route. If anything, this text makes it okay for young riders to not ride Space Mountain. Dad does not ride, so if an adult does not need to ride you do not need to either.

Color and fantastic snacks are the highlights for me in this young read. The book may not fully prepare a youngster for the fun of Space Mountain. But it will communicate that the attraction is a future fun adventure that is okay to be a bit afraid to ride. 


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