Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Summary: From the time she was a child, Mary Blair loved colors of all hues. She used them at art school, and they led her to a job at Disney Studios, one of the first women to be hired by them. Once there, though, a group of older men rejected her colorful drawings, preferring to stick with mostly black and white. She did succeed in catching the attention of one man, Walt Disney himself, who invited her on a tour of South America to create art. Upon her return, under the South American influence, her art grew even more eye-popping, and some of her ideas were finally accepted, including Cinderella’s pumpkin coach and Alice in Wonderland’s caterpillar. But too many of her ideas were turned down, and Mary went off on her own, where she created children’s book illustrations and theater sets. A few years later, Walt Disney approached her with a new plan, and Mary became the chief designer for his “It’s a Small World” ride. At last, her colors could flow freely, and the world could finally see Mary’s world as she had always imagined it. Includes an author’s note with biographical information. 48 pages; ages 4-8.
Pros: A colorful biography of a little-known artist with a connection most kids will recognize and a “be yourself” message about creativity.
Cons: Now we will all have “It’s a Small World” stuck in our heads for the rest of the day.