In many ways The Walt Disney Company seems larger than life. Multinational theme parks, a four ship cruise line, and record breaking box office hits only add to the perception of a corporate conglomerate. Considering The Walt Disney Company’s wide scope, it is easy to see why many forget, or do not know, that the company was actually started by a man and not a board of directors. Walt Disney, the man, was a creative dreamer and inventor constantly seeking (or inventing) new technologies to bring his visions to life. In a new biography Walt Disney: Drawn from Imagination authored by Bill Scollon, Walt Disney’s life is outlined from his humble beginnings to his corporate success.
Walt Disney: Drawn From Imagination is a biography written for the young adult audience, however it is fit for anyone. There is so much to love about this book and it truly is a home-run on so many levels. To begin with, the author Bill Scollon presents the information of Walt Disney’s life in an approachable way – concise, easy to read, and well written. Like some biographies written from adult audiences, Scollon does not speculate on Disney’s feelings or conversations but sticks to the facts. Scollon utilizes quotes by Walt Disney and those that worked with him when appropriate to truly bring Walt Disney to life. As someone who has read the majority of biographies available about Walt Disney, I feel that Scollon has captured the essence of Walt Disney and has included all the important life moments.
The book is 132 pages and included both discussion questions and a well researched bibliography. Some of you maybe thinking “how can all of Walt’s achievement fit in only 132 pages?” Well, it can be done and in fact is one of the greatest successes of this book. Granted, not every achievement is listed in great, drawn out detail like some biographies, but that is the beauty of the book. To us Disney fans, it may seem hard to believe that there are those who don’t “know” Walt Disney at all and are just looking for a good jumping off point. Scollon’s biography is just that book. Extremely approachable and condensed (when compared with other Disney biographies), Scollon allows the reader to learn about the amazing arc of Walt Disney’s life. He does not flower his pages with extraneous details (names, dates, etc) but focuses on representing the whole Walt Disney. When finished, the reader will walk away with a strong, fact based knowledge of Walt Disney.
Another success is of Walt Disney: Drawn From Imagination is the way in which Scollon paints a picture of the different time periods of Walt Disney’s life. In the beginning of each chapter, Scollon takes a moment to discuss how the world was during that respected time of Walt Disney’s life. By pointing these historical facts (i.e. cars just being invented, radio existed instead of television, and the advent of color television) Scollon is able to help the reader understand the world of that time and the challenges that Walt Disney faced.
I can not stress enough how wonderful of a read Walt Disney: Drawn From Imagination is and highly recommend it to Disney fans of any age. Completely delightful and a quick read, this is the perfect gift for young and old Disney fans!