We received the book “Disney Maps: A Magical Atlas of the Movies We Know and Love” to review. It is newly out this week from Disney Press.
The official blurb about the book says, “From the fairytale forest of Snow White to the contemporary world of Toy Story, Disney and Pixar movies do an amazing job of introducing unique worlds. Those worlds have now been mapped out. Each of the twenty-four beautifully illustrated maps brings to life the movies we know and love, and each comes with further information about the movie and the characters. This is a book of maps that will please fans young and old!”
The foreward is from Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Pete Docter. He is well known for directing Monsters Inc., Inside Out and Up. While the book is geared more towards young children, the foreward is not. Docter talks a little about the history of maps but also about how the fictional places in the book were shaped by the stories and characters and the importance of those locations.
The stories chosen for maps are a little bit of a surprise in that much of the second half of movies are from Pixar – actually, 10 of the last 13 are. And there are movies not represented that I’d expect, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
The first map in the book is for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. First, there are two pages of illustrations showing the setting and characters. Then one page has “Moments to Remember”, and “Steps to Clean the Dwarf’s Cottage” followed by a page of characters illustrated. It kind of has the feel to me of when I was a kid reading Richard Scarry books, with characters in their environments. It isn’t the same but it does remind me of it. Next up is Pinocchio, with characters on two map pages and another “Moments to Remember” and “Things Found in Gepetto’s Workshop” and the character list. I think what would even have made this book more fun for kids would be to not list the items in Gepetto’s workshop, but to ask them to locate and write down what they see – make it more of an activity book.
That said, I would have loved this book when I was a kid and I like having it now. It is fun to remember movie moments and in some cases, learn something that isn’t just within the realm of the stories. For example, the Coco pages talk about ofrenda traditions. And in the Finding Nemo pages, there are fun facts about Sydney Harbour. I would have liked to have seen more of that. As someone who loves Paris, the Ratatouille map is my favorite with the Arc De Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre and more included.
This 104 page book is geared towards kids 5-8. The illustrations are fun and colorful. Kids in that age category who love Disney movies should enjoy seeing some of their favorite characters and environments in Maps: A Magical Atlas of the Movies We Know and Love.
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