Cut! How Lotte Reiniger and a Pair of Scissors Revolutionized Animation by C. E. Winters, illustrated by Matt Schu

Published by Greenwillow Books

Summary:  Who created the first full-length animated film, inventing the multiplane camera and storyboarding in the process?  If you answered Walt Disney, it’s time for you to pick up this book and learn about Lotte Reiniger, a German artist who developed a love of shadow puppetry as a child and became renowned for her creations.  After studying filmmaking and stop-motion animation with director Paul Wegener, she started making short animated films but didn’t think any audience would be interested in a feature-length one.  A friend convinced her to try, though, and she spent the next three years creating The Adventures of Prince Achmed. When it was finally completed in 1926, she had trouble finding a theater that would show it, but it eventually became a big success.  Lotte went on to make approximately sixty films, including one in a basement during the bombing of Berlin before she emigrated to England.  Includes a timeline, a list of sources, and an author’s note with additional information about Lotte.  40 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  Don’t forget, March is Women’s History Month, and this would make a fascinating read-aloud, maybe shown with the Prince Achmed trailer.  The story is well-told, and the illustrations capture the feel of Lotte’s work with film and silhouettes.

Cons:  The thought of making a film like this makes me want to lose my mind.  Lotte must have had incredible patience.

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