Hello, friends! Our book tonight is Pocket Full Of Colors: The Magical World Of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire, written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville and illustrated by Brigette Barrager.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Mary who lived in a lemon yellow house. When her family moved out West, Mary was sure to tuck her friend lemon yellow in her pocket. You see, where some people collected bottle caps or baseball cards, Mary collected colors: steel gray, viridian, aquamarine, taupe, celadon. After art school, Mary became one of the first female artists to work at Disney Studios, but is often dismissed by her male bosses and admonished for creating concept art that is too bright, bold, and colorful. Mary leaves to have the freedom to create, but receives a call from Walt Disney himself – he wants Mary’s designs for a new ride called It’s A Small World. Mary is interested, but will not be stifled creatively again. She agrees to come back on one condition: she will lead the project and be her own boss – and Walt agrees. Mary goes on to create, among other works, one of Disney World’s most beloved and enduring attractions – and fills it with every color in her pocket.
So cool! I’m a bit of a Disney nerd, but I had never heard of Mary, so it was wonderful to learn about her contributions to Disney and the rest of the design world. I also appreciated the feminist lessons of the story: Mary refused to let male colleagues compromise her work, and isn’t afraid to ask for the recognition and creative control she has earned. And while Small World is a bit of a problematic favorite as rides go, there’s no denying it’s popularity or staying power. The illustrations are as vibrant, energetic and exciting as you would expect, and JJ positively loved them. The length is very manageable as well, so this one’s definitely Baby Bookworm approved!