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The Queens of Animation

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In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt recounts the dramatic stories of an incredibly influential group of women who have slipped under the radar for decades but have touched all our lives. These women infiltrated the all-male domain of Disney Studios and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and iconic storylines that would reach millions of viewe In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt recounts the dramatic stories of an incredibly influential group of women who have slipped under the radar for decades but have touched all our lives. These women infiltrated the all-male domain of Disney Studios and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and iconic storylines that would reach millions of viewers across generations. Over the decades–while battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace harassment–these women also fought to influence the way female characters are depicted to young audiences. Based on extensive interviews and exclusive access to archival and personal documents, The Queens of Animation tells the story of their vital contribution to Disney’s golden age and their continued impact on animated filmmaking, culminating in the record-shattering Frozen, Disney’s first female-directed full-length feature film.


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In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt recounts the dramatic stories of an incredibly influential group of women who have slipped under the radar for decades but have touched all our lives. These women infiltrated the all-male domain of Disney Studios and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and iconic storylines that would reach millions of viewe In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt recounts the dramatic stories of an incredibly influential group of women who have slipped under the radar for decades but have touched all our lives. These women infiltrated the all-male domain of Disney Studios and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and iconic storylines that would reach millions of viewers across generations. Over the decades–while battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace harassment–these women also fought to influence the way female characters are depicted to young audiences. Based on extensive interviews and exclusive access to archival and personal documents, The Queens of Animation tells the story of their vital contribution to Disney’s golden age and their continued impact on animated filmmaking, culminating in the record-shattering Frozen, Disney’s first female-directed full-length feature film.

30 review for The Queens of Animation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt is a 2019 Little Brown publication. Although it is long overdue, it is still nice to see the women who worked on many of the classic Disney films we all know, and love, finally receiving public acknowledgement for their contributions. Grace Huntington, Retta Scott, Sylvia Holland, Bianca Majolie, and Mary Blair are the women profiled in this book, which also follows a timeline, beginning in 1936 and ending in 2013. The movies these ladies help The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt is a 2019 Little Brown publication. Although it is long overdue, it is still nice to see the women who worked on many of the classic Disney films we all know, and love, finally receiving public acknowledgement for their contributions. Grace Huntington, Retta Scott, Sylvia Holland, Bianca Majolie, and Mary Blair are the women profiled in this book, which also follows a timeline, beginning in 1936 and ending in 2013. The movies these ladies helped to develop, the influence they had on the process of creating these classic films, and the myriad of challenges they faced professionally and personally, are woven into the climate and history of the Disney studio. The book is interesting, especially the creative process, which is perhaps the most enlightening aspect of the book, for me. That doesn't mean I missed the author's message, or that I didn't find it important, just that I found the art and the talent these ladies were blessed with fascinating. I also enjoyed the trip down memory lane, remembering the films that brought me such joy as a child. The author chose these women to write about because they did a lot of important work on these films and their involvement was invaluable to their success, but unlike today, when even the smallest contribution can earn an accreditation, these ladies were ignored. Not only that, their ideas were stolen by their male colleagues, and they often worked under hostile conditions, and were sexually harassed. This slight, is a wrong the author is trying to draw our attention to, so yes, this book has a specific intent and the author is attempting to make a direct point. However, at times she underlined the issue too forcefully, and was a little too heavy handed, which, unfortunately, gave the book an impersonal tone. The book is also a bit disorganized and all over the place at times, and feels rushed through in places, as well. That said, I enjoyed learning more about this hidden history of Disney. The process of change for women, and even for non-white males, was a slow one. It took years before women were acknowledged and given more freedom and control at the studio. But the conclusion is an upbeat, inspirational one, showing the great strides women have taken, the impact they had in shaping Disney, which eventually culminated with the first female directed Disney Film- Frozen. Despite some warbles here and there, I thought this was an interesting book. I admire the creativity of these animators and am very happy to see them finally getting the recognition they richly deserve. Overall- 3.5 round up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. “The rise of women in the workplace, no matter what side of the world it occurred on, was frightening to some men, and they approached the perceived threat much as toddlers would a monster under the bed — by crying about it.” Nathalia Holt’s book tells the story of the women who helped shape the early days of Disney Studios and its projects. Before reading this, I only knew about Mary Blair, Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. “The rise of women in the workplace, no matter what side of the world it occurred on, was frightening to some men, and they approached the perceived threat much as toddlers would a monster under the bed — by crying about it.” Nathalia Holt’s book tells the story of the women who helped shape the early days of Disney Studios and its projects. Before reading this, I only knew about Mary Blair, but was very excited to learn about other women, including Bianca Majolie, Sylvia Holland, and Retta Scott. Their stories were eye-opening, to say the least. Their contributions to Disney films such as Snow White, Bambi, Cinderella, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan and even Saludos Amigos are criminally understated and unknown. I would go so far as to say that these works wouldn’t have existed without the talent and creativity of these women. These queens of animation had incredible hurdles to overcome, including pay inequity and their male coworkers stealing their ideas, but they persisted and helped make the studio into what it is. Reading about the horrors of sexism and misogyny that they had to endure was especially harrowing. One incident that stood out was when Holt detailed at time that Majolie brought up one of her ideas at a storyboarding meeting, and Disney disliked the idea so much that he ripped up her sketches. The other men in the meeting began jeering at her, and Majolie ran out of the room and locked herself in her office. The men followed, eager to hurl further abuse at her, and actually broke down her wooden office door to yell at her some more. Disney reportedly said of the incident that it was one of the reasons that the studio shouldn’t hire women, as they couldn’t take ‘a little criticism.’ The Queens of Animation is an ambitious, engrossing book, covering aspects of Disney Studios history that many, including myself, would be unaware of. World and domestic politics, World War II, efforts to unionize, the shifting role of women in society and the workforce, money, segregation and racism… So much contributed to the path that Disney Studios took with its early work. Holt also forces the reader to confront uncomfortable truths about many of those involved with Disney Studios, from artists and animators complacency in the face of racism and misogyny to Walt Disney himself. A moment that resonated with me was when Holt questions whether Mary Blair, a favorite of Disney’s, could have utilized her privilege to speak out more on the racism inherent in Song of the South, one of if not the most controversial Disney pieces. This made for compelling if tough reading, and I’m thankful for Holt bringing attention to social justice issues as well as the women who helped shape Disney Studios and its classics. The Queens of Animation will be released on October 22, 2019.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    I was interested in the biography aspects of lesser known employees at Walt Disney Studio in the early years. But what we have here is a book with an agenda so thick, that this isn't a biography so much as a platform to scream "white men are pigs." The women (and non white-males) are made out to be god's gift to the world (read: angelic and perfect and supremely talented) while the (obviously Caucasian) men either refuse to do work, jeer at everyone, go to parties, create the worst aspects of Di I was interested in the biography aspects of lesser known employees at Walt Disney Studio in the early years. But what we have here is a book with an agenda so thick, that this isn't a biography so much as a platform to scream "white men are pigs." The women (and non white-males) are made out to be god's gift to the world (read: angelic and perfect and supremely talented) while the (obviously Caucasian) men either refuse to do work, jeer at everyone, go to parties, create the worst aspects of Disney films, or have special 'club' areas that no one else can attain so they can lounge/do nothing. The irony to me is that this book is the exact same thing it purports to abhor: it's just as one dimensional in its thinking at the misogynistic/racist men it is lambasting. I want a biography, not a soap box that over-idealizes its subjects into absolute sainthood and turns every one else into cartoonish oafs. Kudos to the women and non-white males who had to work in the Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s-1960s and deal with so many obstacles. I would have liked to have read their stories but the focus in this book is squarely on misogyny and racism aspects of the Walt Disney Studios. The 'biographies' here are just props and so over-exaggerated as to be non believable. The irony for me is that I consider myself a liberal female and even I could not stop rolling my eyes through it all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily O

    I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the Disney Renaissance (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.) I have been a Disney nerd ever since. As soon as I saw The Queens of Animation was going to be releasing this fall, I knew I needed to read it. (Thank you @littlebrown #partner) Pub Day: 10/22/2019 . The Queens of Animation explores the (often unacknowledged) role of women in the history Disney Animation (1930s-present). . I really enjoyed th I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the Disney Renaissance (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.) I have been a Disney nerd ever since. As soon as I saw The Queens of Animation was going to be releasing this fall, I knew I needed to read it. (Thank you @littlebrown #partner) Pub Day: 10/22/2019 . The Queens of Animation explores the (often unacknowledged) role of women in the history Disney Animation (1930s-present). . I really enjoyed this book. While the structure of the book is the timeline of the studio’s history, Holt does a great job weaving individual women’s stories into the timeline. She maintains a balance of discussing the women’s contributions while also telling the history of each film, technological advances and hardships these women had to overcome personally and professionally. What was most fascinating was the glacial pace at which women were given credit or even fully appreciated for their work. Even as late as the 90s, Disney was still considered a boys club. Holt also offers interesting perspective on the evolution of female characters in Disney movies from damsels in distress that need to be saved by a prince to independent fighters (Mulan, Merida, Moana). . There weren’t many downsides to this book. I will say there is a decent amount of technical talk about cameras, technology, and animation that may make some glaze over (I find it fascinating). There were just a handful of anecdotes about some of the women that didn’t move the book along, but did paint a better picture of who they were. . Overall, this was a very interesting and fascinating perspective on Disney Animation history. Now, please excuse me while I watch every Disney and Pixar movie.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. The Queens of Animation is the story of Disney’s female workforce over the course of the company’s history. Like other works discussing women’s history in the 20 th century this one follows the big historical events: struggles through the depression, expansion of women’s roles in the WwII homefront, post war regression and changes brought/ forced by technological advance. For Disney it seems nothing is new, every film was consid I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. The Queens of Animation is the story of Disney’s female workforce over the course of the company’s history. Like other works discussing women’s history in the 20 th century this one follows the big historical events: struggles through the depression, expansion of women’s roles in the WwII homefront, post war regression and changes brought/ forced by technological advance. For Disney it seems nothing is new, every film was considered years or decades ago. Tokenism still seems present as well as the battles to portray female characters realistically. What I did not expect was how little I was able to differentiate between all of the women featured in this book. Mary had to contend with domestic abuse, but is the only one who’s name I remember. One of the others really really wanted to be a pilot, several were single mothers working to keep their children. All were driven and talented. Readers are provided many brief biographies, but many seem to flitter away as soon as they’re introduced. In discussing the culture of the workplace, it is made clear that it was male dominated and focused, with credit typically going to men aside from a few, rare credits. What we would now call sexual harassment or a hostile workplace are detailed, or remembered by anecdote, but not given a whole lot of analysis or discussion. The removal of John Lasseter gets a mention but only that. As is often for books like this, the earlier history is told in great depth, but as the book continues explanations and depth of coverage are lessened as we approach modern day. I would have liked to hear more about the development of many of the films, or learn more about motivations of those involved (as possible by documentation). Not a book I plan to recommend to anyone. It is not comprehensive enough to be a history of Disney nor is it that effective in meeting its title, I feel there is still much of this story to tell.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Hoping there would be something about Mary Blair.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    I really enjoyed this. The story of Disney told through the women who made the studio what it is today. I always thought Disney was a big unstoppable powerhouse, so it was interesting to read about how often they bombed and came close to losing everything. Side note which only applies to the audio version: whenever the narrator quoted an article or news report, her voice was filtered to sound like it was coming from an old-time radio speaker. It was a nifty little piece of flavor that I apprecia I really enjoyed this. The story of Disney told through the women who made the studio what it is today. I always thought Disney was a big unstoppable powerhouse, so it was interesting to read about how often they bombed and came close to losing everything. Side note which only applies to the audio version: whenever the narrator quoted an article or news report, her voice was filtered to sound like it was coming from an old-time radio speaker. It was a nifty little piece of flavor that I appreciated a lot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    It was the 1956 rerelease of Fantasia that rocked my world. I was four years old and Mom took me to a Buffalo, NY theater to see my first movie. The images and the music made a lasting impression, driving a lifelong love for symphonic music. I already was in love with illustrative art, thanks to the Little Golden Books that my mother brought home from her weekly grocery shopping trips. My favorite was I Can Fly, illustrated by Mary Blair. And on my wall were Vacu-Form Nursery Rhyme characters in It was the 1956 rerelease of Fantasia that rocked my world. I was four years old and Mom took me to a Buffalo, NY theater to see my first movie. The images and the music made a lasting impression, driving a lifelong love for symphonic music. I already was in love with illustrative art, thanks to the Little Golden Books that my mother brought home from her weekly grocery shopping trips. My favorite was I Can Fly, illustrated by Mary Blair. And on my wall were Vacu-Form Nursery Rhyme characters including Little Bo Peep, Little Boy Blue--which I later discovered were also designed by Mary Blair! And even later in life, I learned that Mary Blair had worked for Walt Disney. And of course, growing up in the 1950s, anything Disney was a favorite. Especially the 1959 release of Sleeping Beauty. I was still in my 'princess' phase, which came after my 'cowboy gunslinger' phase. Mom took me to see the film. I had the Disney Sleeping Beauty coloring book. I had the Little Golden Book. And I had the Madame Alexander Sleeping Beauty doll! Sadly, my dog chewed it up but in my 40s I purchased one on eBay to satisfy my inner child. Fast forward to the late 1980s and my husband and I were buying up Disney videotapes for our son, raising another generation of Disney fandom. His first theatrical movie was The Little Mermaid. My fandom never took me as far as to read books about the Disney franchise or Walt. Until The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History. I remembered my love of Mary Blair and thought, Nathalia Holt has something here. I wanted to know the names and the contributions of these unknown women. It was a joyful read, at once a nostalgic trip into the films that charmed and inspired my childhood-- and our son's --and a revealing and entertaining read about the development of animation and the rise of women in a male-dominated culture. I put aside all other books. Holt concentrates on the women's careers but includes enough biographical information to make them real and sympathetic. I was so moved to read about Mary Blair's abusive marriage. Holt also does a stellar job of explaining the rising technologies that would impact animation, eventually eliminating the jobs of hundreds of artists. We learn about Walt's interest in each story that inspired the animated movies and the hard work to develop the story, art, and music, along with the conflicts and competition behind the scenes. I learned so many interesting facts! Like how Felix Salten's novel Bambi: A Life in the Woods was banned in Nazi Germany because it was a metaphor for Anti-Semitism! How Mary Louise Weiser originated the grease pencil, one of the many technologies Disney developed and perfected or quickly adapted. And I loved the story of Fantasia. Bianca Majolie presented the music selections to Walt, including The Nutcracker Suite's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Flowers. Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ballet had never yet been produced in the United States at the time! The male animators did not want to work on illustrating fairies (they instead created the Pastoral Symphony's centaurs and oversexualized centaurettes, including an African-American servant who was part mule instead of horse). Choreographer George Balanchine was touring the studio with Igor Stravinsky, whose The Rite of Spring was included in Fantasia, and he loved the faires in the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies. Fifteen years later he debuted The Nutcracker at the new Lincoln Center and it became a Christmastime annual tradition. I just loved this book for so many reasons! I was given access to a free egalley by the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandie

    ***Won from a Goodreads Giveaway*** On Sale October 22, 2019 Very informative, The Queens of Animation tells the story of the women who worked on and influenced Disney animated films from the very early days to Frozen and beyond. Their place at Disney was tentative, an uphill battle, and rife with misogyny, jealousy, and vindictiveness. Not a picture of Disney any of us would ever dream of but one echoed throughout the workplace especially in those early days. I really enjoyed reading about the variou ***Won from a Goodreads Giveaway*** On Sale October 22, 2019 Very informative, The Queens of Animation tells the story of the women who worked on and influenced Disney animated films from the very early days to Frozen and beyond. Their place at Disney was tentative, an uphill battle, and rife with misogyny, jealousy, and vindictiveness. Not a picture of Disney any of us would ever dream of but one echoed throughout the workplace especially in those early days. I really enjoyed reading about the various women’s work on the films. As a fan of Fantasia, I particularly enjoyed learning why I enjoyed the sequence with the fairies, which was headed by a woman and comprised by a nearly all-woman team, as the majority of men at the time viewed drawing fairies as unmanly and abhorrent. It also opened my eyes to why I never liked the Pastoral scene, spearheaded and comprised of men the sequence is misogynistic and originally contained an extremely racist depiction of a character. The story and antidotes held my interest and I was immersed in the book. The drawbacks will, I hope, be fixed in the final draft as this is an Uncorrected Proof copy. The opening of the book where Bianca Majolie’s work is torn to shreds by Walt Disney and her door is broken down by the men on her team so they can poke fun at her in her despair was strange and felt really off. Especially since it felt like a dream, nightmare really. I wasn’t even sure it wasn’t a bad dream until much later in the text as it isn’t made clear. I had a hard time with the transitions which were abrupt when they even existed. The author occasionally let her personal feelings peek out in the text but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as the vitriol is watched. I would also like to see more pictures in the final draft. I have no idea if that is the intent or not. This copy only has a few of some of the women from the early days. More pictures of the women, particularly of them going about their work, if there are any, and pictures of their art would be a welcome addition. I would love to have seen the gorgeous artwork that is spoken of, especially the work of Mary Blair. The Queens of Animation is definitely a story that needs to be told. I can’t believe there are few to no references to the women who contributed to Disney animated films in the existing biographies and such. So sad that even today they are excluded. I haven’t read any of them, this is just from what Nathalia Holt mentions in this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Are a Disney fan, interested in entertainment history, or just want a fabulous read about incredible women.. For many of us, no matter our nationality, age, or ethnicity, Disney movies were a staple in our childhood and can serve as a connection between the generations. From 1937's Snow White, 1950's Cinderella, 1991's Beauty and the Beast, and 2013's Frozen, Disney's animated feature films have been loved, criticized, analyzed, and reintroduced to new audiences over the years. And Read if you: Are a Disney fan, interested in entertainment history, or just want a fabulous read about incredible women.. For many of us, no matter our nationality, age, or ethnicity, Disney movies were a staple in our childhood and can serve as a connection between the generations. From 1937's Snow White, 1950's Cinderella, 1991's Beauty and the Beast, and 2013's Frozen, Disney's animated feature films have been loved, criticized, analyzed, and reintroduced to new audiences over the years. And is any first-time trip to Disney complete without enduring the dreaded earworm that is "It's a Small World?" These movies (and attraction) would not have been possible without the groundbreaking work of female Disney animators, art directors, screenwriters, and visionaries. Their little known stories are brought to life through the brilliant writing of Nathalia Holt, who tells of their dreams, accomplishments, heartbreaks, struggles, and triumphs in this extraordinary read. After learning of the astonishing Mary Blair's anguish poured out in the "Baby Mine" scene from Dumbo, Ellen Woodbury's hilarious creation of Zazu in The Lion King, Brenda Chapman becoming the first woman to win the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar for Brave (and dedicating her win to her daughter), and Jennifer Lee organizing a women's only "Sister Summit" for Disney employees to discuss the bonds and difficulties of sisterhood during the creation of Frozen, you will be tempted to run through the highlights of the Disney canon in order to see these movies with fresh eyes (even the ones you might view as problematic, like Cinderella, or emotionally fraught, like Bambi). Holt does not shy away from discussing racial stereotypes in Song of the South and Peter Pan, so this is definitely not fan service. It is filled with stories of fascinating women who broke down barriers, overcame obstacles, and made their marks on entertainment history. Many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Edelweiss for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    The Library Lady

    This is the second and last book that I have read by this author. She has a gift for taking potentially terrific material about little known women and making a hash of it. Interesting tidbits here, such George Balanchine's role in the creation of the Nutcracker scenes in "Fantasia," and how that may have been the seeds of his later staging of what is now THE holiday ballet, get lost, and as in her previous book, so do the women she seeks to honor.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Toni Barnard

    "The Queens of Animation" offers a chronological view of the lives and work of women writers and artists at Disney studios, from Snow White to Frozen. Author Nathalia Holt presents their story sympathetically, detailing the slights they experienced, such as being left out of film credits and receiving far lower pay than their male counterparts. Holt describes the boy's club atmosphere that permeated the studio throughout much of the twentieth century--there was in fact a Disney club only for top "The Queens of Animation" offers a chronological view of the lives and work of women writers and artists at Disney studios, from Snow White to Frozen. Author Nathalia Holt presents their story sympathetically, detailing the slights they experienced, such as being left out of film credits and receiving far lower pay than their male counterparts. Holt describes the boy's club atmosphere that permeated the studio throughout much of the twentieth century--there was in fact a Disney club only for top male animators and executives--and how sometimes women managed creative and artistic triumphs despite this, while at other times they were thwarted, frustrated, and even driven to desperation. While there are many names and storylines to follow in this history, Holt does an admirable job of making clear who's who and presenting the women she describes as complex and memorable people. The most compelling figure is perhaps Mary Blair, whose colorful, modern artwork informed Disney animation for decades even as she faced sexism at work and personal tragedy at home. Holt is likely at her best in describing the era when Disney animation was at its midcentury peak, though I may have found this to be the meatiest and most enjoyable part of her work because my own favorite Disney films were produced in this era. But as overt sexism begins to wane in the late twentieth century, one of the central themes of the author's work begins to fade from view, and I can't help but think that the book might have been stronger if it had been shorter and focused more strictly on the first thirty years or so of women's experiences with the studio. Some may find that Holt's description of the men at the studio to be over-the-top or a pile-on; but the women of Disney clearly suffered in a climate where they were often not paid like their male colleagues, respected as they were, nor empowered as they were. Holt's work might be a popular history in the vein of her earlier "The Rise of the Rocket Girls," but she meticulously provides her sources. If the men of Disney are portrayed here as at times having the boorishness of Gaston, the conniving of Scar, or the arrogance of Shere Khan, there are also times in the account where men--including Walt Disney himself--are allies, giving women opportunities, embracing their contributions and honoring them (even if not enough). It's a nuanced picture and a hopeful one, as cultural shifts are leading to more women enter animation and cultural reckonings like #metoo lead us to reassess where we have been as a society and where the future might lead.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    As you might expect, this meticulously researched book shines the spotlight on several female pioneers in Disney’s animation department. But it is much more than that. Set largely against the background of the Depression and World War II, it’s a history of Disney animation from the inside-out. Through the personal struggles of the female animators, we learn about the work environment, the plight of female employees in a male-dominated industry, the hirings and firings, protests and strikes, and As you might expect, this meticulously researched book shines the spotlight on several female pioneers in Disney’s animation department. But it is much more than that. Set largely against the background of the Depression and World War II, it’s a history of Disney animation from the inside-out. Through the personal struggles of the female animators, we learn about the work environment, the plight of female employees in a male-dominated industry, the hirings and firings, protests and strikes, and the success and failure of the classic animation projects. Rumors I've heard over the years led me to expect heavy criticism of Disney himself, but the author was more than fair in her depiction. Holt interweaves these stories with fascinating bits of trivia about Disney studios and their projects. The Little Mermaid project originated as far back as 1940. In the original Italian story, Pinnochio murders Jiminy Cricket, and Peter Pan bumped off several of the Lost Boys to prevent them from growing up. She also describes the technological developments including an explanation of the Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) workstations used by Pixar and Disney in later projects. The chronology of releases was a surprise to me. As a kid growing up in the 1950s, I thought the movies were made as they appeared at my local theater. I was a bit disappointed that there was so little on The Lady and the Tramp. Mary Blair stands out as the premier animation artist. I loved the descriptions of her art and her travels to research backgrounds. Another artist was a pilot and set altitude records and other feats yet was unable to make a career in aviation because of her gender. There are quite a few photos, but the narrative made me want to see sample artwork from their films. The book is very well written and should appeal to anyone with an interest in the women's rights and fans of Disney animation.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Ritter

    I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Little, Brown and Company and this book comes out in October 2019. I was excited to read this book because I love Disney and was curious to learn more about the women working there in the early Disney years. The book had a different perspective then other Disney history novels that I have read and while I enjoyed reading the book, it was much different then I expected. I wish the author shared more about the first 5 women (Grace Huntington, Biana I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Little, Brown and Company and this book comes out in October 2019. I was excited to read this book because I love Disney and was curious to learn more about the women working there in the early Disney years. The book had a different perspective then other Disney history novels that I have read and while I enjoyed reading the book, it was much different then I expected. I wish the author shared more about the first 5 women (Grace Huntington, Biana Majolie, Retta Scott, Mary Blair, Sylvia Holland) working at Disney studios. I wanted to know more details about their personal life and every day life working at the studio. The book just kind of described how the women were left out for on-screen credits and felt like their ideas were not heard or taken seriously and then just went on to describe how the movie was being made and how the men received all the benefits. In one of the early Disney films “Pinocchio” the Blue Fairy in the film did not have any speaking lines and the women at the studio felt like she represented everything they were going through. The women felt Walt Disney also had played favorites and your name only got credit if you were one of his favorites. I enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the Walt Disney Company from a different view. I think it is sad that women did not receive major credit on movies until Frozen, which came out in 2013 and was (finally!) the first female directed movie. I am glad the women and even the non-white males stuck it out in Disney studio through all the difficulties in the 1930s-1960s, paving the way for other women to come behind them; I just wish the book shared more about their journeys.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily O

    Thank you to Little Brown for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. . I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the Disney Renaissance (The Littlr Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.) I have been a Disney nerd ever since. So as soon as I saw The Queens of Animation was going to be releasing this fall, I knew I needed to read it. . The Queens of Animation explores the (often unacknowledged) role of women in the history Disney Animation (1930s-present Thank you to Little Brown for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. . I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the Disney Renaissance (The Littlr Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.) I have been a Disney nerd ever since. So as soon as I saw The Queens of Animation was going to be releasing this fall, I knew I needed to read it. . The Queens of Animation explores the (often unacknowledged) role of women in the history Disney Animation (1930s-present). . I really enjoyed this book. While the structure of the book is the timeline of the studio’s history, Holt does a great job a weaving individual women’s stories into the timeline. She maintains a balance of discussing the women’s contributions while also telling the history of each film, technological advances and hardships these women had to overcome personally and professionally. What was most fascinating was the glacial pace at which women were given credit or even fully appreciated for their work. Even as late as the 90s, Disney was still considered a boy’s club. Holt also offers interesting perspective on the evolution of female characters in Disney movies from damsels in distress that need to be saved by a prince to independent fighters (Mulan, Merida, Moana). . There weren’t many downsides to this book. I will say there is a decent amount of technical talk about cameras, technology, and animation that may make some glaze over (I find it fascinating). There were just a handful of anecdotes about some of the women that didn’t move the book along, but did paint a better picture of who they were. . Overall, this was a very interesting and fascinating perspective on Disney Animation history. Now, please excuse me while I watch every Disney and Pixar movie.

  16. 5 out of 5

    James Murphy

    There's no denying that the animated films of the Walt Disney Studios are part and parcel of popular culture. Starting with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," millions have been moved and entertained by the work of the many creative Disney artists. The contributions of some of these artists have been lauded and written about, such as the animators that Walt Disney himself christened "The Nine Old Men." The contributions of one group of artists, though, have been overlooked: the women. However, a There's no denying that the animated films of the Walt Disney Studios are part and parcel of popular culture. Starting with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," millions have been moved and entertained by the work of the many creative Disney artists. The contributions of some of these artists have been lauded and written about, such as the animators that Walt Disney himself christened "The Nine Old Men." The contributions of one group of artists, though, have been overlooked: the women. However, a new book, "The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History," addresses this oversight. Author Nathalia Holt tells a lively and engaging story of how these women made their mark in the male-dominated field of animation. They made significant contributions to both art and storytelling, and also sought to transform the way female characters are depicted for young audiences. I'm a long-time fan of Disney animation and I definitely enjoyed this book. It is worth seeking out.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    I expected the book to be about the two or three women who created art for Disney studios during the heyday. I was surprised to find that about six women are profiled in detail and another eight or ten are introduced in passing. In addition to the stories of some exceptional artists, this is the story of the Disney studio when they were making groundbreaking movies such as Snow White and Bambi and Fantasia. Disney thought that feature length animated movies should be for adults but also appeal t I expected the book to be about the two or three women who created art for Disney studios during the heyday. I was surprised to find that about six women are profiled in detail and another eight or ten are introduced in passing. In addition to the stories of some exceptional artists, this is the story of the Disney studio when they were making groundbreaking movies such as Snow White and Bambi and Fantasia. Disney thought that feature length animated movies should be for adults but also appeal to children. This was news to me that children were not the target audience for the big animated projects, although I think Mickey Mouse and the other short cartoons were aimed at children. It makes you look at the movies in a new way. It was very inspiring to read about the artists like Mary Blair and Biancha Majolie who left their distinctive styles on such projects as It's a Small World and Bambi. After enjoying Nathalia Holt's Rise of the Rocket Girls and Queens of Animation, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    A fascinating, in-depth look at Disney studios women animators through the years. As a full blown Disney maniac I was excited to see that someone had written a book about a subject that has a great deal of interest to me. Disney fares slightly better than expected at having women on their payroll. During an era when women were expected to stay home and tend to domestic duties, Disney actually had quite a few women on the payroll, although few of these worked in animation, and none worked in mana A fascinating, in-depth look at Disney studios women animators through the years. As a full blown Disney maniac I was excited to see that someone had written a book about a subject that has a great deal of interest to me. Disney fares slightly better than expected at having women on their payroll. During an era when women were expected to stay home and tend to domestic duties, Disney actually had quite a few women on the payroll, although few of these worked in animation, and none worked in managerial positions. The majority worked in the Ink and Paint department, doing the delicate work of coloring in the thousands of cels required to make Disney's animated shorts and features, but there were a few trail blazers that actually braved the male dominated animation department. The author did a wonderful job of introducing these trailblazers to us through interesting and detailed anectodes and facts about their lives both inside and outside of the work place. It's not only a great history of females making their mark at one company, Disney, but also an interesting look back at how much women had to endure, and still have to for that matter, only a short time ago. Wonderful book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Edes

    This book should have been called The History of Animation at Disney. I had issues with several things. The author would briefly introduce a female animator, give a sentence or two about her, then proceed to move on to minute technical details about the process being used at that time to create animation. By the time she got back to talking about the woman, I had forgotten who she was referring to and had to reorient myself. When I sifted out all of the technical informatio This book should have been called The History of Animation at Disney. I had issues with several things. The author would briefly introduce a female animator, give a sentence or two about her, then proceed to move on to minute technical details about the process being used at that time to create animation. By the time she got back to talking about the woman, I had forgotten who she was referring to and had to reorient myself. When I sifted out all of the technical information and the details about Disney's financial woes, there was actually very little meat to her stories about the women animators. I thought they were supposed to be the heart of the story. Overall, this was a very disappointing read and I would not recommend it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Have you ever thought about the behind the movie actions and work it takes to make all those fun Disney movies? This book takes you to the drawing table, but evem more interseting is that author, Nathalia Holt takes us on the jounrey of women at the drawing table. Never before have I heard of the work these women did and do to make Disney what it is, and that is the point of this book. It is time that these women are known. This is a wonderful look into the women and men that make Disney shine. Have you ever thought about the behind the movie actions and work it takes to make all those fun Disney movies? This book takes you to the drawing table, but evem more interseting is that author, Nathalia Holt takes us on the jounrey of women at the drawing table. Never before have I heard of the work these women did and do to make Disney what it is, and that is the point of this book. It is time that these women are known. This is a wonderful look into the women and men that make Disney shine. A history that is not found unless you truly going looking. Take the time to look and read The Queens of Animation!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Clarissa

    I listened to the audiobook, I think read by Saskia Maarleveld. The narration was nice & simple, which I enjoyed. I really did like this book. I like hearing and learning more about the history of animation, especially more about the women in it. It definitely concentrated about the women in animation, but sometimes it felt more like a history of Disney or of Walt Disney. I'm sure a lot of that was necessary for understanding and I'm not complaining anyway, lol. But, those times, I felt like I listened to the audiobook, I think read by Saskia Maarleveld. The narration was nice & simple, which I enjoyed. I really did like this book. I like hearing and learning more about the history of animation, especially more about the women in it. It definitely concentrated about the women in animation, but sometimes it felt more like a history of Disney or of Walt Disney. I'm sure a lot of that was necessary for understanding and I'm not complaining anyway, lol. But, those times, I felt like I wanted more on the women.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    This book was so interesting in laying out how revolutionary women's work at Disney was from the very beginning. The timeline felt really jumbled and jumpy throughout most of the book and I had a hard time following it at times but overall I was just so incredibly interested in the stories of these women. I am awestruck at how much work was put into the early Disney cartoons and I so wish that women were given more of the recognition for the work that they did and still do.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    A fascinating history of women that worked for Disney, starting at the very beginning. In addition to being a great read, it made me so grateful to be born when I was. I got some of the best hand-drawn animation as a child and don’t have to fight so ridiculously hard to be respected in the workplace.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Interesting narrative non-fiction account of the largely un-credited women who were part of the founding and evolution of Disney animation and the environment in which they worked. It was also really fascinating to read about the technological advances underlying each feature.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary Berger

    I received a copy of this book. I never new that women did this job. Very informative of what went on behind the scenes

  26. 4 out of 5

    MCZ Reads

    I won a copy of The Queens of Animation in a Goodreads giveaway. I will update this review once I receive my copy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual 2019.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    What an amazing history. I had no idea. A must read for any fan of women's history, U.S history, and/or the history of Disney.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    This book was kind of like getting the other side of a story. Im a Disney fan and I love watching Disney documentaries this book was like the whole story of some things. Interesting read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Switek

    I'm a huge fan of Disney, and this book gave me some insight into the people behind some of my favorite movies!

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