Author: Stephen Cavilier
With such a big subject you’d be wise to approach such a release with supreme caution. But that is something which the Author appears to have done as well: used caution. This book really acts as a guide to the beginnings, middles and, well the current trends in animation. Where the benchmarks generally lie, where the cult favourites still have their standing in the world, and even the odd over-looked masterpiece that we may have forgotten about, or never even have heard of. But it’s the written details of each period in time that makes this book work.
Sure it’s colourful. There is no shortage of stills, and it comes with a gorgeous shot of Betty Book on the cover, proving that even though she’s hardly the at the height of her popularity, that she is indeed relevant and stands for something that is immediately recognizable to the buyers eye.
What matters is the text itself and the level of research that the author has put into this book. I found myself getting drawn into the tables of factoids in the early chapters that gave choices and facts from the world of animation from different areas of the world – Namely key figures and works of art.
The book is roughly laid out thusly –
It’s in the brief history section where you get the table information and an introduction to what each country had to offer. Each chapter is divided up between countries, each country has various specific stand out examples stretched over a variety of styles. It’s a nice way of dividing the book up and illustrates (pun intended) the history of each region and the scope that was capable at the time.
Towards the end of the book there are the obligatory Resources; Glossary and Academy Awards winners for both short and feature animated films. Might have been nice to extend beyond the Academy Awards, but then there are so many awards bodies out there now that it may taken an entire new book. But it may have been worth mentioning a few of the more respectable bodies.
There is also a list of Animation books and websites which fans and growing fans of this media will find useful.
It’s one that you’d be happy to have on your shelf and will draw eyes to it. I would often run a test of leaving new books on my coffee table just to see if guests would pick them up out of interest. You can see the cover here, Betty Boop. I’m sure she will be quite the draw for wandering eyes; and the book is interesting enough to make others remember to buy it.