Book Review: “The Disney Princess: A Celebration of Art & Creativity”

Hi everyone!

I received “The Disney Princess: A Celebration of Art & Creativity” to review. This is a title that slipped under my radar, it was a surprise when it showed up! The book is by Charles Solomon and published by Chronicle Books.

 

Chronicle says of “The Disney Princess: A Celebration of Art & Creativity“,

From Snow White to Moana, The Disney Princess explores how the personality, style, and spirit of each princess developed and evolved. It features insights from directors and artists, and even photos of the live-action actors and models who inspired the animators.

• Eye-catching hardcover with pink cloth, ribbon marker, and silver glitter page edges
• Features over 200 colorful illustrations, photos, and graphics
• Filled with never-before-seen concept art from the archive

The introduction talks in part about how princesses have changed through the years as the roles of women have – particularly in Disney animation, where women eventually were working in story, design and animation and not just ink & paint.

The Disney Princess: A Celebration of Art & Creativity” includes a lot of stories, information, concept art and photos that support each princess. For example, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length animated film that Walt Disney put out. The book talks about the challenges with the film, including the design and animation of the heroine. Also, it mentions how Adriana Caselotti won the role and talks about the Walt’s Folly aspect of it.

Snow White is just one of the profiled princesses – twelve Disney princesses are here. Each chapter starts with a quote, like for Cinderella the quote is from Walt: “I’m just corny enough to like a story that hits me over the heart. People pulled for Cinderella”. And each chapter includes a bit about the origins of the story – and many do come from fairy tales. One notable exception is the movie Brave.  Director Brenda Chapman could not find an “obscure fairy tale” to adapt for the story she was looking to tell, so she took elements from several and wrote the story herself based on the relationship with her young daughter.

There are plenty of insights from animators, directors and more.

The book is a bit bloated in text, mixing a lot of interesting information with some unnecessary assumptions. For example, discussing why Cinderella’s family seems to be living in “reduced circumstances” – maybe taxes took a large part of the resources of the family, etc. The text could have been tightened up.

That said, “The Disney Princess: A Celebration of Art & Creativity” is a very nice book for adult Disney princess fans – and actually, for Disney history fans in general. I enjoy looking at the photos and concept art and have learned some interesting history along the way. The front cover is also lovely.

 

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