We received the children’s book, I am Walt Disney to review (it releases on September 10th, 2019). I have never read any of the other biographies for kids by Brad Meltzer before, but Meltzer said that he started the series “so I could give my kids better heroes to look up to”. For him, this book is more personal than others, because each year he picks a day that – instead of driving his kids to school – he takes them to Walt Disney World to show them that every day can have magic.
I am Walt Disney features Walt talking about his own life, and even includes Ub Iwerks, Imagineers Rolly Crump, Mary Blair and Marty Sklar (among others) illustrated in the pages. Read below for my review!
I am Walt Disney is a small biography about Walt Disney that is contained in 40 pages. The age range is listed as ages 5-8, though I’d probably bump it up a year on each side. Thinking back to being 5, I could read but some of the topics in the book are a little more adult, like about Walt having to declare bankruptcy. Walt is shown on almost every page as his adult self, looking back at his life. He talks about being 4 years old in Marceline, about how he painted the side of his childhood home with tar, and about delivering newspapers in Kansas City. The book shows how he was creative through school, and eventually he started his own company and the book touches on The Alice Comedies and then his big success with Steamboat Willie.
For a small 40 page book, it fits in a lot of Walt’s life. Walt soon takes his kids to the Griffith Park carousel, where he hatches the idea for Disneyland. Cal Arts has a page, and includes drawings of some of the animators who went there including Glen Keane, Tim Burton and Pete Docter. But the main draw from the book is about how inspiring the life of Walt Disney is – he never gave up, and he believed in dreams – and it encourages kids to follow their own.
Both author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos are Disney fans and it is apparent from the book. They worked hard to make sure it was historically accurate.
Most Disney books for children in the same age range feature princesses or Disney characters with very basic writing. I am Walt Disney elevates that to teach ideas and talks on a level usually reserved more for a bit of an older age range. Plus it introduces young children to Walt.
I recommend I am Walt Disney. And take a look at Meltzer’s other books, because they offer a wide variety of heroes including Neil Armstrong and Jim Henson – and the books are well reviewed.
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