Author: Nathalia Holt
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Summary: This was a great read, full of engaging stories that taught me a lot of about animation and the role women have played at Disney.
This story about the female animators who shaped Disney movies is by the same author who published Rise of the Rocket Girls several years before. I noted that the previous book didn’t include many technical details and I thought this book was much better in that regard. It could be because I know less about animation, but I learned so much about how movies are made. There are aspects of animation that I took completely for granted that seem almost miraculous now that I understand the effort and technological innovation required.
For the first half of the book, I thought the author did a great job focusing in on just a few women. Other women who worked at the company were mentioned in passing, enough to highlight the work they did (including Milicent Patrick of The Lady From the Black Lagoon). These women mostly only appeared once though, so I only had to keep track of the main characters. That made it possible for me to remember the main characters’ full stories.
I liked the chronological organization, with many of the chapters focused on a single movie or innovation. The author also provided a lot of interesting and helpful context about world events and social changes that influenced the Disney movies. Toward the end of the book, the number of women who were mentioned multiple times increased. Many women were introduced briefly, than referenced by only first name later on. By the end of the book, I’d largely lost track of who was who. I think this is a common problem with group biographies and it diminishes their ability to make known the stories of individual women.