Monday, June 10, 2024

Between Books - Where is Walt Disney World?

Book cover for Where is Walt Disney World with an illustrated fun looking version of Magic Kingdom and Epcot combined with fireworks.

Between Disney is back to bash a kid's book!

Where is Walt Disney World?
By Joan Holub and illustrated by Gregory Copeland is an introduction to Walt Disney World for readers aged 8 to 12. The book provides a history of the development of the theme park including the life of Walt Disney, Disneyland, the leadership of Roy O. Disney, and the park's opening. The book then proceeds to tour the park from Magic Kingdom, to EPCOT, to Animal Kingdom (this is not in historical or geographical order ), and then to Disney Hollywood Studios. After walking through the parks, the creators discuss special events, hotels, Disney Springs, and the changing nature of the parks. The chapters include topical inserts and hand-drawn style illustrations scattered on the pages.

When I was 12, I wrote my first major historical essay on the surrender at Appomattox. Per the publisher’s recommendation, I could have used the published level of narrative and fact in this book to support my project. If so, that would have been a mistake. The history inside is sometimes the Disney myth history, without much explanation or elaboration. It often fails to address what I think is a more interesting story of a kid. For example, they call the Ulitidors the underground tunnels of the Magic Kingdom. But wouldn’t it be more interesting to a kid to know that it’s the first floor, not a basement? Or maybe a kid might be excited reading and try to sell their parents on one of the cheaper resort hotels, Animal Kingdom Lodge! Even the All-Stars laughed when I read that line.

The text is what it is! For a 8 year old it’s likely fine as it provides brushing big strokes on Walt Disney World history and location building. But for a 11 or 12-year-old, and likely a lot of 10s it’s too surface and likely to not feel up to their grade level of reading. For kids who want to dig into the history, background, and secrets of the park, I honestly think a better choice would be a current copy of The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World books which is at an appropriate reading level, makes them feel more mature, and likely give them a lot of secrets they would annoy the adults around them with.

Where is Walt Disney World? By Joan Holub and illustrated by Gregory Copeland is a fine book for younger readers who need a surface introduction to Walt Disney World with images to keep them engaged with the story. But for emerging readers and those wanting to know more of the story, it’s likely a book that lacks the depth desired.  


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