Disney Guide Book Reviews

We have three Disney film guide books here for you to consider. Whether you are an avid Disney fan, or have family members who love to receive this sort of thing. Here’s a peek at Disney’s latest classic animated film Tangled, the one to follow, Winnie The Pooh, and finally the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie! Gaaaaar!


Tangled – The Essential Guide to Rapunzel’s World

Tangled: the film which put the Disney Princess back on the map. She had been slumbering peacefully (in the style of Sleeping Beauty) pretty much since Belle married the Prince in 1991, resurfacing with half hearted enthusiasm a couple of years ago in The Princess and the Frog. But Tangled is simply perfect: it’s sassy, it’s got attitude and good grace, but most importantly it’s really very funny for adults and children alike.

As you would expect, this latest Disney release comes with an array of accessories, including DK’s ‘Essential Guide to Rapunzel’s World’, a sweet little annual-type publication for any pre-teen princess. It simplifies the film’s narrative and intersperses it with interesting facts and figures, including individual character profiles for most of the principals.

The story is split into accessible chunks, simply headed, including “Mommy Dearest” (which I daresay won’t do much for British Kiddies’ spelling…) and “Rapunzel’s Hobbies” making it perfect for bedtime installations. The book also offers bitesized expansions on what we learn of the characters from the film and some interesting bits and pieces such as “The Tower is 30 metres tall” which are great for kiddies who really involved themselves in the film and want to know more about this tall tale.

The only criticism I would make, thinking back to the annuals I read when I was young, is that this guide is sadly lacking in things to do! Where are the puzzles, word-searches, quizzes… even stickers at a push.  The omission of these essentials leaves me thing that this Tangled guide is not so Essential after all.

Dani Singer

Winnie the Pooh – The Essential Guide Review

Disney’s decision to set their 51st animated feature in the 100 Acre Wood is an incredibly safe one. Winnie the Pooh and friends have been steeped in the childhood of at least four generations, and so it’s a fairly sure bet that the parents of today who grew up with this willy, nilly, silly old bear will be taking their own kiddies along to watch this classic tale played out with all the same characters who kept them company as children.

The Essential Guide to Winnie the Pooh is supposed to serve as an accompaniment to the film and deals with the oft repeated premise of finding Eeyore a new tail and a more original one concerning a terrifying monster, The Backson.  Not to rain on the film’s parade, but the book seems to be a fairly superfluous one given that A. A. Milne already wrote largely identical stories over fifty years ago (and wrote it better, at that), and I’m sure that rather than buying this particular story book, most parents will stick to the classics to bring Winnie off the screen and into their homes. In any case, it’s nicely laid out with illustrations faithful to the original designs of the characters (woe and betide the day Winnie the Pooh goes CGI!) and brightly coloured fact-boxes dotted around each page to keep toddlers’ attention occupied.

As with the Guide to Rapunzel’s World which goes with Tangled, this book is sorely lacking in things to do and more so than with other books, this one is crying out for a colouring in section. The simple drawing style is one which many children (and no doubt their parents too!) would delight in being set loose with a box of crayola on and it’s a pity that nothing like this was included.

But, for children who are Winnie the Pooh fanatics this book is a worthy addition to a collection; just so long as they already have all the originals on their shelves.

Dani Singer


Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides

Kids looking for a souvenir manual might be interested in this title. I remember having such books for the films that were coming out when I were a young lad, and they serve their purpose to both excite you for a forthcoming film, and to act as a keepsake!  God knows I’m sure a few of them are probably worth something now – If only I’d kept them!

This one is a well put together book introducing you to the world, the visual aspect and, naturally, the characters from the film. While the book does not tell the story from start to end, you get a very good grasp of what it is about and who is doing what in it. There is a slight possible spoiler for the film’s ending (or what could well be the final scene) in the film which people may want to avoid if they want to see the film first.

Otherwise this is a well put together book that mostly skims the surface of what Pirates 4 is all about but does it in impressive high res quality and with a design that is true to the films so far.

Steven Hurst


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