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The Queens of Animation

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,317 ratings  ·  270 reviews
In this history, the author highlights Disney's largely forgotten female writers and animators. Animation aficionados may know of the studio's largely female-staffed Ink and Paint department, but the contributions discussed here embraced many other areas. Grace Huntington was the second woman ever hired for Disney's story department, as well as an avid, record-setting pilo ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Little, Brown
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt is a 2019 Little Brown publication.

Although it is long overdue, it is still nice to see the women who worked on many of the classic Disney films we all know, and love, finally receiving public acknowledgement for their contributions.

Grace Huntington, Retta Scott, Sylvia Holland, Bianca Majolie, and Mary Blair are the women profiled in this book, which also follows a timeline, beginning in 1936 and ending in 2013.

The movies these ladies helped to develo
Diane S ☔
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nfr-2020
Walt Disney was the neighborhood in Chicago where I grew up, claim to fame. The house he grew up in, albeit many years previous, was a few blocks from mine. Everyone new in our neighborhood had this pointed out to them.

A terrific book that I enjoyed immensely. Five women who broke the gender barrier, and became integral to the studio. Though the book , and rightly so, centers on these forgotten women, we also get a sense of Walt himself, the studios troubles, and the making of the movies themsel
da AL
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bravo to the heretofore unsung women of Disney and to Nathalia Holt for unearthing their history. As much as I loathe the whole Cinderella scenario, merchandising adding injury to injury, the addictive grip imposes on consumers that Disney has perfected... it's nice to see that the founder wasn't as completely despicable to women as many employers were during his reign. Holt writes well and audio reader Maarvleveld's performance is wonderful too. ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so fascinating to me. I don't know about youins but I never paid attention to the credits in movies *sheepish* and never thought about the people who worked on my favorite characters until I was older.
When you're little, you usually don't think about all blood/sweat/tears the people behind the scenes put into a movie. Its just a magical world you fall into and fall in love with.

I'm sure most of you have a favorite Disney character above the rest:). For me, the first ones I fell in love
I received The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History by Nathalia Holt as a Goodreads Giveaway. I’m very grateful for this because now I know to avoid all works by this author. The Queens of Animation is not a pleasure to read and I found its treatment of the subject insufficient. These women who bravely ventured into the brutally sexist and male-dominated world of 1950s and 1960s Disney animation studios did not get the ...more
Online Eccentric Librarian
I was interested in the biography aspects of lesser known employees at Walt Disney Studio in the early years. But what we have here is a book with an agenda so thick, that this isn't a biography so much as a platform to scream "white men are pigs." The women (and non white-males) are made out to be god's gift to the world (read: angelic and perfect and supremely talented) while the (obviously Caucasian) men either refuse to do work, jeer at everyone, go to parties, create the worst aspects of Di ...more
MCZ Reads
Thank you to Goodreads for my copy of this book!

I really enjoyed The Queens of Animation... but not for the reasons I thought I would. This book is rich with Disney history and the evolution of animation, and it highlights the work of more women than I expected. But the sheer amount of information meant that each woman is introduced quickly; I had difficulty keeping track of everyone’s names and histories, and by the end I only had the sense of who a handful of the women were as people. I feel t
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

“The rise of women in the workplace, no matter what side of the world it occurred on, was frightening to some men, and they approached the perceived threat much as toddlers would a monster under the bed — by crying about it.”

Nathalia Holt’s book tells the story of the women who helped shape the early days of Disney Studios and its projects. Before reading this, I only knew about Mary Blair, but was very excited to
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book should have been called The History of Animation at Disney. I had issues with several things.

The author would briefly introduce a female animator, give a sentence or two about her, then proceed to move on to minute technical details about the process being used at that time to create animation. By the time she got back to talking about the woman, I had forgotten who she was referring to and had to reorient myself.

When I sifted out all of the technical information and the details about
Pre-reading: Hoping there would be something about Mary Blair.

After reading: And so there was plenty about Mary Blair. I had no idea that her lively, colorful, emotionally-rich art was created amidst such tragic personal life. Legendary woman.

Nathalia Holt's newest book is more of a Disney Animation Studios' biography from a female lens. She does a thorough job recreating lives and inner monologues of many women of the studio, whose voices were otherwise forgotten. The narrative can be a bit bum
Natalie (CuriousReader)
Finally got around to writing a review of this, my favourite book of 2020, here: ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
It was the 1956 rerelease of Fantasia that rocked my world. I was four years old and Mom took me to a Buffalo, NY theater to see my first movie. The images and the music made a lasting impression, driving a lifelong love for symphonic music.

I already was in love with illustrative art, thanks to the Little Golden Books that my mother brought home from her weekly grocery shopping trips. My favorite was I Can Fly, illustrated by Mary Blair. And on my wall were Vacu-Form Nursery Rhyme characters in
Porter Broyles
Queens of Animation gives us a unique view behind the curtain. There are really three broad categories that I think have to be explored in this book:

1) The mini-biographies of the women involved--- I thought Holt did a very good job introducing us to a plethora of women who worked for Disney and made their marks there. These women were phenomenal women but not all emerged on top. Some had tragic stories, this gave them depth. The fact that some of these women's stories ended tragically or differ
This book found its way onto my to read list because of a recent book about Milicent Patrick, a monster creator and animator, who spent time at the Disney studio as well as some of these talented women.

Anyone interested in the roots of animation, or Disney history would find this (and the above-mentioned) read worth their time. I'm not a big animation fan, but am a child who grew up partially babysat by Popeye, Fred & Wilma, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and all the Disney princesses. I learned a very k
Book Club of One
I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

The Queens of Animation is the story of Disney’s female workforce over the course of the company’s history. Like other works discussing women’s history in the 20 th century this one follows the big historical events: struggles through the depression, expansion of women’s roles in the WwII homefront, post war regression and changes brought/ forced by technological advance.

For Disney it seems nothing is new, every film was considere
Geonn Cannon
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this. The story of Disney told through the women who made the studio what it is today. I always thought Disney was a big unstoppable powerhouse, so it was interesting to read about how often they bombed and came close to losing everything. Side note which only applies to the audio version: whenever the narrator quoted an article or news report, her voice was filtered to sound like it was coming from an old-time radio speaker. It was a nifty little piece of flavor that I apprecia ...more
The Library Lady
This is the second and last book that I have read by this author. She has a gift for taking potentially terrific material about little known women and making a hash of it. Interesting tidbits here, such George Balanchine's role in the creation of the Nutcracker scenes in "Fantasia," and how that may have been the seeds of his later staging of what is now THE holiday ballet, get lost, and as in her previous book, so do the women she seeks to honor. ...more
Amanda Van Parys
Great information and writing about the women who were forgotten but still shaped the animation at Disney. I'm glad this information has become more known and that we are able to learn about these women.

I dreamed of working for Disney as a young kid and it was actually Disney cartoons that inspired me to teach myself to draw in the first place - so I basically owe my drawing ability to Disney and these women (and also to my own hard work, but I wouldn't have been inspired without my love of Dis
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
Really liked this one. It’s my first nonfiction about animation and definitely opened the doors for me to read more about tv, movies, and music. Wasn’t a fan of how the book slowed down after the 1950s, but really appreciated the glimpse into the world of Animation my friends all work in.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was very young I was watching the Disney Channel and there was a short newsreel that showed how the grand marshal of the Walt Disney World parade was the winner of the Disney Store's trivia competition. At that moment I knew I had to work hard and earn the right to be grand marshal at the parade.

From that day on, I read everything I could about Walt Disney and his legacy. Fast forward to my early adulthood and I win my local trivia championship and get flown to Florida to compete for my s
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
For someone who grew up with Disney princesses and now lives in a world completely overrun with all things Disney (Disney acquisition of Marvel, anyone?), I was interested in learning more about the women who pioneered roles in the world of Disney. Unfortunately, the author projected her own ideas throughout the book and obscured the legacy of the very women she wished to highlight. The prose was disjointed and jerky, the timeline hard to follow, and the female animators ended up feeling less al ...more
Women's History written during the #MeToo times. I am a woman, of course I have had my me too moments--so many I really don't remember most of them, just some of the more egregious ones, but the feeling that one gets during them, that isn't something one forgets.

That said, this isn't about sexual innuendos that way, just about the enormous amount of horribleness it was just to be a woman in this field. Men were openly nasty about it, you were paid less, it was virtually impossible to advance, an
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this one. I loved learning about the women who helped mold a field I love so much and I loved getting an inside look into the making of so many classic Disney films. My only qualm with the book is the flow of it felt very choppy at times and some stories were left in flux and never properly concluded.
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing. I'm fascinated by the story of Disney in general but this insight was incredible. I could not put this book down which is saying a lot for a non fiction. If you like Disney animated movies you should read this book. ...more
Emily O
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the Disney Renaissance (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.) I have been a Disney nerd ever since. As soon as I saw The Queens of Animation was going to be releasing this fall, I knew I needed to read it. (Thank you @littlebrown #partner) Pub Day: 10/22/2019
The Queens of Animation explores the (often unacknowledged) role of women in the history Disney Animation (1930s-present).
I really enjoyed this book. While the struc
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The Queens of Animation" offers a chronological view of the lives and work of women writers and artists at Disney studios, from Snow White to Frozen. Author Nathalia Holt presents their story sympathetically, detailing the slights they experienced, such as being left out of film credits and receiving far lower pay than their male counterparts. Holt describes the boy's club atmosphere that permeated the studio throughout much of the twentieth century--there was in fact a Disney club only for top ...more
Thanks to Book Club Cookbook's Galley Match program and publisher Little, Brown and Company for a copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have always been a fan of anything related to Walt Disney (animation, films, Disneyland, the Wonderful World of Disney, the Disney Museum) so I couldn't wait to read this book, and I found it fascinating. The author did an admirable job of researching the history of the women who worked as animators for Walt Disney Studios and then weaving the
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
I expected the book to be about the two or three women who created art for Disney studios during the heyday. I was surprised to find that about six women are profiled in detail and another eight or ten are introduced in passing. In addition to the stories of some exceptional artists, this is the story of the Disney studio when they were making groundbreaking movies such as Snow White and Bambi and Fantasia. Disney thought that feature length animated movies should be for adults but also appeal t ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book, not because of its subject, but because of its author. A couple years ago, I read Nathalia Holt's amazing RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS, in which the PhD science writer told the true story of the women behind the space race. Never before would I have thought I, who am in the humanities, would understand anything about rocket science. But Holt explained in a clear, legible way. In addition, her book read like fiction and I was caught up in all of the women's stories.

Holt repeats this
There’s a little store in Disney Springs that I visit every time I go to Disney World. It’s tiny, I’ve forgotten the name, but it sells Disney art. I buy postcards because a) I don’t have the money for the bigger ones and b) I don’t have the place to put them either. They’re newer artists, artists in residence and what have you, whose work gets periodically showcased at Epcot, but their interpretation of the old characters is really cool. I enjoy spending time there.

I was hoping this book would
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Nathalia Holt, Ph.D. is a science writer and the New York Times bestselling author of Cured: The People who Defeated HIV and Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Popular Science, and Time. She has trained at the Ragon Institute ...more

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