Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Authors: Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
Illustrator: David Wenzel
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-0 – 689870255
“Walt Disney started so many things! If he had quit and never made Steamboat Willie, the world would be a lot less fun,” Abigail explains in Disney's Dream(Blast To The Past) a children’s book written by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon.
With one hundred and eight pages, this paperback book is targeted toward ages seven to ten years old, has no profanity and no questionable or scary scenes. Illustrator David Wenzel provides an adventurous drawing on the front cover of four children falling through a time-travel hole. The back cover has two paragraphs about the book and a rendering of Walt Disney and mentions the next two books in the series. Inside there are ten black and white drawings along with a photograph of the B.S. Moss Colony Theatre, built in 1928. Also included at the end of the book is an explanation by the authors of fact verses fiction about Disney, Mickey Mouse and making the first cartoon with synchronized sound.
The main object of this series is to ask young children what if a person in the past did not create, state, make or invent something that changed our lives today but quit instead. This book hones in on the media visionary Walt Disney making the first seven minute cartoon complete with matching sound, Steamboat Willie.
Like the prior book, this tome is told in first person by inquisitive Abigail, a third grader who meets her three friends early at school Monday morning before class. When new student Bo, twins Jacob and Zack and Abigail cannot find their teacher, they take the initiative to travel back in time to 1928 using his time machine to convince Walt Disney to record the music, sounds and words to his short cartoon, the first in the movie industry. However, Mr. Disney has run out of money, blown several recording tubes and wants to quit until the four kids take him back to current day and show him one of his movies at the local theater where Abigail’s sister works. Of course, Disney is enamored with the sound and goes to the projection room to locate its source. Abigail’s testy, older sister threatens to blow their cover until she is included in convincing Disney to complete his innovative idea. They all go back in time again and record the cartoon with money Disney’s brother sent after selling his car. All is resolved and Abigail and her sister make amends in the process.
Although there are a few intentional misspellings for emphasis, the book teaches young readers the Swahili “hakuna matata” phrase meaning “no worries” and what mirth is. This book does an exceptional job of teaching and informing our kids in an enthusiastic way about something as innocuous as how Disney’s cartoon changed the movie industry to what it is today. Kudos to both authors for explaining American culture in an engaging, adventurous yet academic way.
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