From School Library Journal
This is a fascinating look at Weston Woods and its creator, Morton Schindel. Rich with full-color archival photographs, detailed production notes, animation cels, and first-person accounts, the book gives readers a personal, behind-the-scenes look at the man and the studio that has animated most of the great works of children's literature from the mid-20th century to the present. As Maurice Sendak writes in the introduction, "It was nirvana in Weston Woods—there was such great freedom. Looking back on it, you can hardly believe it existed." Luckily for us, it did. Buy this book for your library, yourself, and your students. It's sentimental, inspirational, and informational.—Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Imagination and Innovation is the perfect title for the Weston Woods story, because the company was built on just that. Mort Schindel, the heart and founder of Weston Woods, came from a privileged background in the 1920s. Destined for a career in economics, Schindel was sidelined with tuberculosis. While Schindel was recuperating, his doctor suggested that he pursue a career in art, which led him to film and a whole new world of children’s media. Cech, a writer, critic, and teacher of children’s literature, has the background to write Weston Woods’ story, and he fills the narrative with portraits of authors, artists, and Schindel himself. The picture books that have been filmed with the studio’s iconographic technique (a process by which the cameras create a sense of movement by panning and highlighting details in the book’s original illustrations) are some of the most recognized, including titles such as Make Way for Ducklings and The Man Who Walked between Towers. Cech has included animation cells, archival photographs, storyboards, advertisements, and pictures of mementos of the films as well as a chronology of the company and a filmography. Throughout his career, Schindel and Weston Woods have changed with the times, moving from film to filmstrips to videos to DVDs, and have expanded their business to include a mobile cinema, international productions, and a museum to house all of their artifacts, but throughout it all, they have stuck to their mission of quality and integrity. Cech’s book is a fine tribute to both the company and its founder and will be popular with anyone with a fondness for film or children’s literature. --Candace Smith