Book Review: “Mary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One of the Disney Legends”

Hi everyone!

I received an early copy of Mary Blair’s Unique Flair, one of two animation books geared toward kids that will be released on August 13th, 2019. The other will be Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation by Mindy Johnson. Mary Blair’s Unique Flair is  40 pages long and is aimed towards kids ages 7-10, but really can be enjoyed by anyone who loves Disney animation. The illustrations by Lee are amazing, and I can’t recommend it more for anyone who is a fan of her work and kids can learn about Mary Blair, a Disney Legend who worked with Walt Disney. Amazon has several artwork images now and I posted a couple below.

The story itself – written by Amy Novesky – talks about how Mary Browne Robinson (eventually Mary Blair after she married) just wanted to make art from an early age, and her parents worked hard to be able to support her and they even went with less food at times to buy paints and paper. Blair went to art school and then worked for Walt Disney for a time, quitting briefly until a trip to South America came up. That trip changed her life and her art, and she started painting with new colors. She went on to work on Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan (all three are conceptualized on pages in the book, as Mary draws them). Her work on “it’s a small world” is well known and also shown, and eventually Blair became a Disney Legend. A short book of 40 pages, the color just pops – including on the cover, on the interior cover and throughout. Lee really captures the art of Mary Blair so well, and Blair’s likeness (and Walt Disney a couple of times).

Artwork copyright Disney (more can be seen on Amazon)

Brittney Lee says at the end of the book that she was “thrilled” to be asked to illustrate it in cut paper, and she was surprised a few years ago to learn that many of Blair’s pieces were in cut paper as well.

The illustrations in the book are beautiful, Lee is a talented artist who captures the look and feel of Blair and her artwork. The pages honestly look like they could be framed!

Artwork copyright Disney – Walt Disney with Mary Blair and “it’s a small world” figures.

Maggie Richardson, a niece of Mary Blair says in an afterword that she knew author Amy Novesky would understand her aunt Mary from the moment she looked at Blair’s art and listened to stories about her.

Mary Blair’s Unique Flair is a lovely tribute to a Disney Legend, and could sit on the shelf of anyone who appreciates Disney history and/or art.


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