Non-Fiction · review

The Disney Book

51OS20FgmcL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Blurb: “For more than 90 years, Disney has captured imaginations with pioneering entertainment and storytelling for all ages. From Sleeping Beauty to Frozen, Mary Poppins to the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and Disneyland to Tokyo DisneySea, explore the world of Disney in this exciting guide.”
Did you know that Walt Disney originally want to call Mickey Mouse, Mortimer until his wife said the name sounded too pompous?

Did you know that the Hawaii location backgrounds in Lilo & Sitch are actually watercolour paintings and not CGI/Animation?

Did you know that the first Disneyland Park opened 17th July 1955 and seven weeks later celebrated its one millionth guest?

No? Well now you do. And that’s just a snippet of what you will learn in this book.

Also, each copy of the book features a 35mm filmstrip from Brave. So that’s just a little extra to tempt you.
10649443_799219793534901_8377337548204467965_n

This book is split into three parts:

 

The first part is titled “Drawn Disney” and covers everything from Walt Disney in the early years to Mickey Mouse, to the Silly Symphonies cartoons, to some of the classic films we know and adore. As a lover of animation and how it’s made, it was a real treat seeing some of the concept art, the cameras used to make the films, and how the voice actors would actually act out scenes to give the animators an idea of how the characters should move on screen to make them look more human.  This section shows little surprises/links to other Disney productions to look out for in their various films, which I’ll definitely look for the next time I give them a watch. I greatly underestimated the work that went into some aspects of these creations, for example: sound. Bambi (1942) has fewer than 1000 words of dialogue. The rest is just sound. But it provides an excellent example of how much information can be conveyed just through putting sounds together.

The second part is titled “Disney In Action” which you can probably guess covers the live action side of Disney. There are mentions of Walt’s love for Jules Verne which lead to him creating his first made-in-Hollywood blockbuster “20,000 leagues Under The Sea”. A model of the Nautilus can be found next to Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise was inspired by the classic Disneyland park attraction. Again, the detail of the design for the Dead Man’s Chest is something really overlooked on screen, but really appreciated when you’re aware of it.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a section on live action Disney without mentioning the incredibly fun “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” starring Angela Lansbury and Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Both of which combine live action with animation, creating two of arguably the best Disney live action films.

The third part is titled “Experience Disney” and focuses on the Disneyland theme parks. The idea for to expand Disney to this area came to Walt when he was sat in a theme park watching his children on a ride. The first Disneyland Park opened in July 1955 featuring 18 major attractions. By the end of its first year, 3.6 million people had visited. But Walt didn’t want to stop there and began making plans for a four-part theme park in Florida, also featuring the Magic Kingdom park. Sadly, he died a year after plans were publically announced. His co-partner and brother Roy gave a speech stating that the new accumulation in Florida would be named “Walt Disney World” so that no one will forget the man behind the creations. Two months later, Roy died.

This book combines all kinds of wonderful information and facts with colourful images and photographs that stop it  becoming just some old boring textbook.

This is an absolute must for any Disney lover!

For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

For my writing adventures follow me on Twitter

For my videos, check out my Youtube

For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings

fairytale retelling · young adult

A Thousand Nights – E.K.Johnson

athousandnights_cvr

Blurb: “Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not be next. And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead.”

*I was sent this book by the publisher but the publisher but this in no way affects my review*

The premise for this book may sound very similar to The Wrath and The Dawn which was recently very popular in the Booktube world. That’s because they’re both based off the fairy tale One Thousand and One Nights.

The story opens with a village waiting nervously for Lo-Melkhiin to arrive and pick a new wife. The protagonist – unnamed- expresses her worries that her sister will be chosen because she is both intelligent and beautiful. Not wanting this series of events to come true, she approaches her mother’s sister and begs to be made to look like her sister: “dress me in my sister’s clothes, braid my hair as you would hers and give me those charms she would not grieve to lose.” (Think of it as a less dramatic “I volunteer as tribute” moment from The Hunger Games) The plan works and Lo-Melkhiin takes the protagonist back to his city and marries her. On their first night together, he asks if she is afraid on him and she says no. He then says he knows that she took the place of her sister and asks about her. The protagonist -surprised – wakes up the next day and the next… and the next.

The protagonist struggles to meet and talk to people as they all avoid her, believing that she will not be around long enough to get to know, so naturally she’s feeling iscolated. She gets to meet Lo-Melkhiin’s mother who is intrigued by the protagonist because she doesn’t fear her son. The mother says she will tell her a story about what made Lo-Melkhiin the way he is now.

The basis for the rest of the plot is the protagonist exploring her new home and getting to know her new husband.

So it’s clear that the latest “trope” in Young Adult literature is fairytale retellings. Which is all well and good, I love fairytale retellings! However, there is a way to make a good retelling, and this wasn’t it.

While I really enjoyed the world building that, for me, was the only redeeming quality of this books.

There were no names given apart from Lo-Melkhiin. This made it very hard for me to feel like the protagonist was more than 2D and throughout reading the book I just felt disconnected. Characters are referred to as “my sister”, “my father’s father” stripping them of any identity which would have vastly improved the reading experience. On top of this, there were no descriptions of the characters. It’s hard to care or connect to a story when they plot and ideas are there but the characters are wibbly wobbly figures that don’t really fit in place.

I know the bare basics of the original story but in terms of the relationship between the protagonist and Lo-Melkhiin and the fact it’s Young Adult, it’s only natural to expect some kind of creepy relationship to form as a result of the forced marriage. But that was not the case. Nor was there even a mutual respect between the pair by the conclusion.

Because the story was so lacking in terms of character, I actually found myself skipping sections and even, dare I say it, hoping it would end.
For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

For my writing adventures follow me on Twitter

For my videos, check out my Youtube

For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings

book tag

Disney Book Tag

The Little Mermaid – a character who is out of their element, a fish out of water

Stuck-by-Lightning

Carson Phillips from Struck by Lightning is in his final year of high school and in the process of applying to University. To make himself stand out more on his application he tries to set up a Literary Magazine at the school. But there’s one problem – he isn’t exactly at the top of the social food chain. He uses his outsider knowledge of the populars to try and get them to write for his magazine the only way he knows how: by blackmailing them.
Cinderella – a character who goes through a major transformation

great-expectations-1860

Pip in Great Expectations goes through one of the biggest transformations I’ve read. He starts off as a lower class orphan boy helping out in his sister’s husband in the forge. When given the opportunity to meet with the mysterious Miss Havisham things for Pip start to take a turn in a brighter direction, and soon he is heading off to London to learn how to become a Gentleman.

Snow White – a book with an eclectic cast of characters

Harry01english

If you haven’t read Harry Potter then return to the rock you’ve been living under and never speak to me again! For me, it’s frankly impossible to NOT pick this book series for this one. The cast is just so eclectic from the muggles to wizards to squibs to the houses to the animagi and various species.

Sleeping Beauty – a book that puts you to sleep

pride-and-prejudice-book-cover

As someone with a love of literature who extended that passion on to a university degree, I’ve had to muddle my way through a lot of classics. By far the worst has been Pride and Prejudice which I’ve had to re-read a lot of times. I just find the story so boring and the characters don’t really do much to save the plot. Not to mention Mr Darcy is awful and I can’t understand why anyone could possibly want someone like him.
The Lion King – a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

cvr9780743298902_9780743298902_hr

The Book of Lost Things follows David, a boy who loves books -especially fairy tales – and loves reading them to his ill mother. Sadly, she dies. Twelve year old David suffers badly from this loss and my heart just went out to him. I wanted to climb into the pages and give him a hug.
Beauty And The Beast – a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

The-Book-Thief-cover

Anyone who knows me, will know that I can read a 400 page book in two days if I just sit down and read. I came across this book not long after its release and heard it was a beautiful book (just like the cover!) so I bought a copy. It’s a monster of a book and took me over a month to read because it’s rich and well written. The writing is unbelievably beautiful and I don’t think I will ever find a book as beautiful as this one.
Aladdin – a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse 

unbecoming-of-mara-dyer2

One specific event in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer really sticks out at me for this one which is what I refer to as “the dog incident”. One day when Mara is coming home from school she finds a dog chained up in someone’s garden. The dog is clearly neglected and when she stands up to the owner, a not very nice man, she walks away wishing that something bad would happen to him. A few days later he is found dead in his home and the dog gets taken away to a better place.
Mulan – a character who pretends to be someone or something they’re not

divergent

This book follows Tris, a sixteen year old who has her choosing ceremony coming up in which she must decide whether to stay or move factions. Each faction operates under a certain personality type and to help decide where you fit best you have to take a test prior to the ceremony. Tris’ results reveal that she fits into three of the five factions which makes her “Divergent.” These types of people are dangerous to society and slowly being killed off. So Tris has to hide the fact she’s Divergent and try to fit in.
Toy Story – a book with characters you wish would come to life 

peter-pan-jm-barrie

Peter Pan is my all-time favourite book and the reason I decided to pursue a life as a writer. If I could have any collection of characters come to life it would be the ones in this story. I can think of nothing better than flying through the sky with Peter Pan and fighting pirates with the lost boys.
Disney Descendants – your villain or morally ambiguous character

COFA_cover

One of my favourite “villains” is Camille Belcourt from The Mortal Instruments series. She’s just so sassy and evil and yay for vampires. She messes things up between Alec and Magnus but I love everything she does in this series.
For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

For my writing adventures follow me on Twitter

For my videos, check out my Youtube

For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings