Publisher: Disney Press
“Three thumbs up! Way up!” – The Three Little Pigs
This is a cute little book that gives a good primer to any new Disney enthusiasts while also giving quite a few interesting likely unknown details for the hardcore Disney fan. The writing is done in Mickey’s own voice, as in it’s written as if he himself is penning an autobiography of sorts. The book also has over 200 illustrations, original animation drawings, photographs, film stills, and special publicity art. Much of it has previously been unpublished as of the 1997 release date for this volume.
Mickey starts the introduction off by retelling the story of how he ‘met’ Walt Disney on a train, which you can see pictured above. This image is a wonderful depiction of this event which I have never seen before!
Following Mickey’s opening letter to his dear friends, the book is divided into sections by years. It starts with the 1920s:
This section is four pages long and gives a brief account of the early days of the Mickey Mouse Shorts, starting with Steamboat Willie. There are two pages of images depicting several of these first animated Shorts.
Next we enter into the 1930s:
This section is fourteen pages long and covers what the Disney Studio was doing during the Great Depression. There are eight pages chronicling the Shorts and animated films of Mickey and company. Another two pages details the development of the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip which was handled by Floyd Gottfredson. The last two pages of this section show a few examples of the Studio Christmas cards that were produced for friends and family of the employees.
We now move out of the Depression and into the rebounding 1940s:
This section has twelve pages. Disney is on the move to a new Studio in Burbank while World War II breaks out! Four pages show some of the more memorable full-colour productions undertaken by the Studio at this tumultuous time. Another four pages are dedicated to how Disney contributed to the war efforts. The last two pages of this section show the attempts that were made to climb out of the financial slump caused by the limited distribution of the war.
The time of prosperity was on in America in the 1950s:
This section has ten wonderfully illustrated pages covering Disney’s foray into television with the Mickey Mouse Club and his building of Disneyland. There is also a nice page listing all of the different names that Mickey Mouse is known by from around the world (above, left).
Now we slide into my decade of the 1960s and also the 1970s:
This section has only six pages. They start off with the sad news of Walt Disney’s passing and the effect it had on the company and the world. Three pages are devoted to the 50th Anniversary of Mickey Mouse himself.
Lastly, the book goes into the decades of the 1980s and 1990s:
This last section has ten pages all together. Walt Disney’s World on Ice debuts and Mickey segues into longer full-colour theatrical Shorts. Michael Eisner takes over as CEO and things really start to take off for the company! Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland opens, allowing visitors to walk right into the homes of some of their favorite Disney characters. A brand new building for Walt Disney Feature Animation is built during this time period. Also, Mickey’s first cartoon in over forty years premieres to great acclaim, that being the Runaway Brain! The 1990s also saw the installation of the Partners statue in the Hub of Disneyland. Wow! A lot happened in this section.
Mickey had been going for almost 70 years upon the release of this book. It concludes with a heartfelt thank you to all of the people who made it possible.
It’s hard to make out, but if you take the cover sleeve off the book, you will find an embossed imprint reading ‘Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse’.
The real writer, Russell Schroeder, does a good job of making it appear that it is Mickey Mouse telling the story. The book is light on text and long on images with informative captions. There are so many images I hadn’t seen before, which is incredible, given how many books on Disney I own!
I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 Stars. It sold for $19.95 CAN back in 1997 which when adjusted for inflation becomes $33.13 today. That seems a little steep for a book of this size. It is still available on selling sites for about $20.00 US or less for a used copy.