I really love art books, whether they are about the work of a specific artist or the works of many who worked on a specific project. The Art of the Disney Golden Books by Charles Solomon contains works covering decades of Golden Book releases from Disney, and it really takes me back to when I was a child.
Though I didn’t know their names at the time, I remember reading books with illustrations by some of Disney’s greatest artists: Mary Blair, Al Dempster, Eyvind Earle, Joe Grant, Ub Iwerks, Burnett Mattinson, Sylvia Mattinson, Gustaf Tenggren, and Retta Scott Worcester are just some of the over 30 artists showcased in this volume. This art book just exudes nostalgia for me.
Solomon takes you through the history of Disney and Golden Books, and how they have recently come back as another way to enjoy Disney’s various franchises and original works. He goes through the process of creating a new Golden Book and shares memories from many of the artists who worked on them. Of the original Little Golden Books, I still fondly remember The Poky Little Puppy, illustrated by Tenggren. I found all of Solomon’s background information very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history behind these books.
One of my favorite aspects of the whole process was how they purposely chose to go with character designs and illustration styles which didn’t mimic the styles used in the original films. This allowed the artists greater freedom and allowed them to introduce a wide variety of styles and artists to the children reading the books. The stories didn’t always follow storylines from the film, either, allowing the worlds to be expanded.
However, this book is all about the art.
Like all of the Disney Editions art books, every care was taken to make sure all the colors are right, and the final book is a true gem. Great care was taken with all the art in the book, and just about every page has brilliant and colorful images which show you just how diverse a field of talent there was working on these books for the last 80+ years (since the mid-1930s).
I have now gone through The Art of the Disney Golden Books multiple times, and I have discovered new little treats each time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves illustrative art, Disney, Golden Books, or childhood memories.
Release Date: April 8, 2014 (USA)
ISBNs: 142316380X (9781423163800)
Publisher: Disney Editions
Violence: 1 (some depictions of fighting, some scary images)