BOOK REVIEW: Mary Blair's story brings color to Disney
Ever since Mary Blair was a girl, she collected colors.
Not just lemon-yellow, red and blue. Rather, she observed the azure ocean, the sienna desert and the viridian trees.
"Pocketful of Colors," by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, is a picture book biography of Mary Blair, the first woman to work as an artist at Walt Disney Studios.
But Mary's path wasn't easy. Fresh out of art school, she assumed that the studio would be "a place for her colors to run and dance and play as they pleased."
Soon she realized that the men at the studio "didn't want to talk about cerulean or celadon or cerise."
Her ideas were rejected.
Fortunately, Walt Disney believed in her. But even after a trip to South America to collect even more colors, Mary didn't fit in.
Would she stay at the Walt Disney studio? Or would she follow her colors and leave?
"Pocketful of Colors" is a vibrant book, full of Brigette Barrager's eye-popping illustrations.
I love the way Barrager allows colors to swirl around Mary Blair — first as a girl as she mixes her watercolors, then in art school as pink and red swirls convey her emotions.
Eventually, swirls of vibrant colors frame Mary with confidence as she negotiates her return to Disney.
Meanwhile, the writing vibrates with energy as the authors include the fascinating names of the colors.
There's also the fun surprise that Mary and her colors were instrumental in the "It's a Small World" ride.
Unfortunately, very little information is provided about "It's a Small World." As a result, readers who have never been to the Disney parks may not understand the significance of the book's final pages.
With this exception, "Pocketful of Colors" is an inspiring, energizing book about art, color and vision.
"Pocketful of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire." By Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville. Illustrated by Brigette Barrager. Simon and Schuster, 2017. 48 pp.