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Bill Peet: An Autobiography Paperback – March 28, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395689821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395689820
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans who grew up with any of Peet's more than 30 books-- Pamela the Camel ; Zella, Zack and Zodiac ; Chester the Worldly Pig among them--or with any of the Disney movies he worked on--such as Cinderella , Dumbo , Pinocchio , 101 Dalmatians --will welcome this inside look at the creative process. Peet wryly tells the story of his life, from his boyhood in Indianapolis to his years working at the Disney studios. He started as an "in-betweener," who had the "tedious, painstaking job of adding hundreds of drawings in between hundreds of other drawings to move Donald or Mickey from here to there." The job lasted until the day a stack of Donald Duck drawings caused Peet to run from the office, shouting "NO MORE DUCKS!!! NO MORE LOUSY DUCKS!" Promoted to the story department, he was often the imaginative force behind ideas for which story editors claimed credit in front of Walt Disney; his work at the studio lasted 27 years, during which time his children's book career took off. Readers will come away with a Peet's-eye view of the Depression, and also of the drudgery and politicking of office life--and he completely demystifies the glamour side of working in Hollywood. The illustrations--samples from his Disney sketches and pictures of him involved in nearly every facet of human experience--offer a humorous guide to adult life that readers of all ages will surely respond to. Toward the end, Peet spells out for readers what he believes has been the course of his life, and these pages are a little too baldly introspective compared to what has come before. Nevertheless, he offers an ebullient invitation to survey his life, a dip into an inkpot of entertaining facts. And the format could inspire a whole new kind of autobiography--since an illustrator "thinks" visually, using pictures to tell his life story seems positively inspired. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up-- Peet's long shelf of popular picture books are familiar to library patrons; his long career as an artist for the Disney studios may not be so well-known. All of this and more is covered in this enthusiastic and heart-felt autobiography. The format is similar to James Stevenson's When I Was Nine (Greenwillow, 1986)--a picture book with autobiographical text and profuse illustrations in the familiar style of the author/subject--but while Stevenson describes only a short period in his life, Peet starts with his earliest memories and continues up to the present. Beginning with a traditional Midwestern town and country boyhood, the book follows Peet through high school, into art school, on to local prizes for his paintings, and eventually to an invitation to "audition" for the Disney studios, where he eventually worked on Snow White , Dumbo , Sleeping Beauty , and many more films. At the same time, he struggled at home with the picture-book format for his art, finding himself with reams of picture stories but at a loss for words to accompany them. Every page of this oversized book is illustrated with Peet's unmistakable black-and-white drawings of himself and the people, places, and events described in the text. Familiar characters from his books and movies appear often. The fascinating subject matter will encourage readers to finish the lengthy text. The pictures tell their own story and can be appreciated on many levels. An excellent choice for inspiring young gifted and talented students as well as for general readers. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, Pa.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This book is pretty amazing.
Daddy Shawn
Such an excellent book--and a great way to inspire the next generation!
EcoDesigner
This was a great, fun to read autobiography.
Mary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Alan R. Holyoak on July 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
The autobiography of Bill Peet is not a deep delving look into the soul of the man. It is, however, an entertaining and informative (and self-illustrated) collection of memories, thoughts, and events from the life of one of the men who was instrumental to the current success of the Disney Corp.
Bill Peet tells of his boyhood, his constant doodling and drawing, and how he joined Disney during the depression as a finish cartoonist. Peet's imagination and drive to express his ideas led him to become one of the people Disney relied on to create and deliver the kind of animated work that now have masterpiece status. His name is found on many of Disney's successful animation features (e.g., Peter Pan, Sword in the Stone, Fox and the Hound, etc.).
Peet eventually left Disney and went on to find success as an author and illustrator. If you are like me, you will enjoy reading his candid comments about life and making a living as an artist, and about his association with and perspectives of Walt Disney, the man.
Bill Peet's books are favorites of the children at our house.
This is a delightful read. Give it a try! I'm glad I did.
5 stars.
Alan Holyoak
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The cartoon-like drawings and corresponding text found in this book bring to life Bill Peet's childhood and aspiring career as an artist/illustrator. He does a wonderful of realistically portraying teenage and collegiate years, complete with aspirations of becoming Charles Atlas himself. Much detail is put into the development of Peet's career in and out of Disney Studios and his relationship with Walt Disney. Whether you agree with Peet on Walt's true character is up to you! The book concludes with a look ahead to Peet's eventual success with children's books and a list of those he has produced. It is well worth reading and is especially good non-fiction for upper elementary or middle school age students. Parents who are currently looking to provide a role model that is hardworking and seemingly ethical will also love this selection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this book a phenomenal read. Bill Peet not only speaks of his life with warmth and a gentle sense of humor, but with touches of reality as well -- which reminds us that he is very human. His struggles as an artist and his relationship with the legendary Walt Disney are fascinating to learn about. I highly recommend this book for everyone - children and adults alike.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dana H. Pasterjak on April 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great autobiography. I loved Bill Peet's work as a youngster and instantly recognized it. Felt like reading about an old friend. His artistry throughout the book made the story come alive. He writes in a very engaging, easy way for young folks to understand and enjoy as well as the older set. I appreciated his candid telling of the Disney years. He certainly did not sugar-coat any of his struggles. An interesting story about a unique life and a fine talent that I love even more now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on April 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I nevertheless found it quite fascinating and engrossing.

Peet is a self-professed reluctant student, especially of English classes, but he is nonetheless quite the good writer. Peet's illustrations add a lot to the pace and feel of the book and are a joy in their own right. His stories of life in Indianapolis before World War II will be interesting to any native Hoosier (as am I).

However, the most interesting part details his jobs at Walt Disney studios. His descriptions of how they made movies in the old days as well as the insider's look at Walt Disney himself are fascinating. Peet worked on several Disney movies, including Pinnochio, Fantasia, Cinderella (he created the lovable mice) and the original 101 Dalmations.

Peet brushes over his life after he left Disney a little too quickly. I would have liked to have read his descriptions of life in the publishing world as well. Also lacking is much history of his family life.

That being said, it was still fascinating, entertaining and totally worth the reader's time.

I give this one a grade of A-
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tess R on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am a high school student. Who rarely reads anything. I just finished this book no more than 5 minutes ago and loved it. This book I could even read again. It is a great story of how a boy doing what he loves in life makes a living out of and impresses even the expert of cartoon writing Walt Dinsey. After working for Walt he still made a living on cartoon work and also writing story books for kids. Over all this book is by far a five star book and I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bill Pete started out as a daydreaming, doodling boy, and made it all the way to Walt Disney! Bill was born in Grandview and was raised in Indianapolis. He lived happily with his Mother, two brothers, and grandmother. His father was a traveling salesman, and didn't really come into his life until later. Ever since Bill was young, he loved to draw. During class, he would doodle in between the margins, and his books were a big favorite amongst the other kids when he sold them as second-hand. His childhood was fun filled, and he had some big hopes and dreams. First of all, he wanted to go on a safari and sketch the animals, but most of all, he wanted to be an artist. One day, in the summer of 1928, Bill's father returned "home" broke, travel weary, and demanding money. After arguing for many days, Bills mother gave in and paid his father. With that, his father drove away. Not long after that, Bill's grandmother tragically died, which put the family in complete shambles. They had to move, and everything changed. The Great Depression started, and Bills father kept taking money, so he kept them poor. Bill went through school well as a student, graduated, and went to college. That was when the work became harder. Bill was facing flunking some of his classes. One night, he ran into an old friend from school, and was persuaded to start taking some arts classes. Bill began painting, and it is there that he met his beautiful wife Margaret Brunst with which he eventually had two sons. He graduated with flying colors, and took a job as a painter. Finally, he realized he didn't have a steady income, and applied for Walt Disney Productions. He became a good friend of Walt Disney himself! Bill helped create many classics starting with Snow White, and going all the way to Jungle book.Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Bill Peet was the author of 34 books published by Houghton Mifflin. One of these, BILL PEET: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, was named a 1989 Caldecott Honor Book. All of Bill Peet's books published by Houghton Mifflin Company, including his first book for children published in 1959, HUBERT'S HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURE, remain actively in print today.
In both his career as an author and illustrator of children's books and in his work as sketch artist and continuity illustrator at Walt Disney, Bill Peet created a menagerie of memorable characters. As he himself noted, "I write about animals because I love to draw them. Most of my animal characters have human personalities, and some are much like the people I know."

At Walt Disney, where Bill Peet worked for 27 years, he was a key participant in the production of classic films such as Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and 101 Dalmatians for which he was not only an artist, but the screenwriter as well.

Bill Peet's signature style enabled him to create fast-paced stories of fantastical adventure delivered with warmth and laugh-out-loud hilarity. His unfailing humor did not, however, prevent him from addressing such poignant issues as kindness toward others and respect for the environment. Through the exploits of his characters, Peet offered his audience a chance to see themselves and their world through new eyes.

"At some point," Bill Peet once said, "it occurred to me that drawing was something I couldn't possibly give up, and somehow it must be turned into a profession." He went on to not only fulfill his dream but to introduce generations of young readers to his delightful vision of humor, friendship and compassion.


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