ImagiNERDing Best Disney Books of 2013

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Features, Imaginerding

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Published on December 02, 2013 at 2:00 am with 4 Comments

2013 was a much slower year for Disney books than 2012. My list of the best Disney books of 2012 had 11 titles on it. This year’s list is much smaller as was the total amount of Disney-related books published.

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Presenting the list in alphabetical order, by title, of my choices for the best books of 2013.

Disneylanders by Kate Abbott

Kate’s book is one of two fiction titles on my list this year. I’m not a big fan of fiction books set at Disney parks; usually the author sacrifices story for using the parks as a character or completely messes up the park details. Kate pretty much got everything right with this book about a young girl visiting Disneyland with her parents. It’s a trip that sees Casey, the main character, on the verge of many changes, including a new school, losing a best friend and finding the attentions of a boy she meets in the park.

Disneylanders is geared for the tween and early teen audience but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a copy and thoroughly enjoying it. It’s incredibly well-written and offers great characters that were well-conceived and had great dialog. Disneyland is handled with incredible reverence and love. Kate is a true Disney nerd and she never let the park overshadow the book or the characters.

Disneyland Story: the Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey

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I haven’t officially reviewed Sam’s book since it’s only been out for a few weeks, but it’s a spectacular look at Disneyland. Sam’s background is in urban planning which gives him an incredibly unique perspective on Disney parks. I enjoy Sam’s columns on Mice Chat so I was looking forward to his particular approach.

The book is incredibly exhaustive and takes us through Disneyland’s history through the growth of the beloved park. It’s laid out in large blocks of years that showcase the development of the park through major attractions and shows. What’s fascinating is that Sam was able to delve into the political machinations with the city councils of Burbank and Anaheim to show how Walt’s ideas were stymied as well as passed unanimously. The larger civic and community roles that Disneyland has played are usually not recounted, which makes this book so valuable. Kudos to Sam for including an almost rapacious bibliography and for having the decency to cite his references. Not many authors do that. This one is a must have for Disneyland fans!

Hollow World by Nick Pobursky

Nick’s book is the second novel and this list and it’s as explosive as the cover suggests! Like Kate, Nick does a fantastic job of setting a story at Walt Disney World without sacrificing the story or the parks. It’s been compared to Die Hard, but it’s so much smarter than that.

We meet Charlie Walker, a Detroit police detective that is uncannily similar to Sherlock Holmes, his wife and two daughters as they’re bout to embark on a week-long vacation at Walt Disney World. Along they way, we’re introduced to a megalomaniac and the CIA team tracking him. The book is gripping and the addition of Walt Disney World as a setting is the icing on the cake. Nick tells a fantastic story and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Hollow World: Origins by Nick Pobursky and Hugh Allison

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Hollow World: Origins is a set of three prequel stories to Hollow World. It’s not necessary to read them before the book but they are incredibly impressive for short stories, especially the debut of Hugh Allison (the Grammar Robot™). Besides, the prequels are FREE! Make sure to check out the Overboard short story, too.

Tinker Belle: an Evolution by Mindy Johnson

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first read about Disney’s Tinker Bell release. Tinker Belle is a wonderful character from a wonderful Disney film; she has a long and storied history before the 1953 animated release and I hoped that Disney wouldn’t skirt the issue and focus on the latest CGI cash grab films.

So, Tinker Belle: an Evolution is a fantastic read. Mindy spends a lot of time looking at J.M. Barries and his influences that led him to create the characters for the stage production as the initial changes for the pixie. The largest section of the book looks at the 1953 animated film and rightly so. There is a tremendous amount of insight into the development of Tinker Bell over many years and by many artists at the Disney Studios. It really is a great title and I hope that Disney will publish more in-depth looks at their nimation properties over the next few years.

Not Quite a Book But Close!

More Cute Stories Vol. 1 (Disneyland History) and Vol. 2 ( Animators and Imagineers) Narrated by Rolly Crump

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It’s Kind of a Cute Story by Rolly Crump and Jeff Heimbuch was the 2012 ImagiNERDing Book of the Year. When I heard that Bamboo Forest Publishing was releasing a series of audio stories told directly by Rolly, I was sold! Both volumes are incredibly enchanting and it’s amazing to hear these tales directly from Rolly.

Honorable Mention

Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms by Marty Sklar

Not that this wasn’t a fantastic read, but I can’t imagine Marty distilling his 50+ years working at Disney into one volume, he really just hits the highlights. A lot of the book does delve into the creation of Epcot, which is great for fans. I really appreciated it when Marty pulled off the gloves and wrote about a few very un-Disney encounters. I do hope Marty pens another book or two.

Which book was your favorite from 2013?


ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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