Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordin

Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordin

Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville
Illustrator:  Brigette Barrager 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2017   ISBN: 978-1481461313

From a very early age, Mary loved to collect colors “of every shade and every hue.” When her family drove across the country to live in California, Mary saw all kinds of marvelous colors in the places that they drove though. She savored the colors and kept them in her sketchbook so that she might use them sometime in the future.

When she grew up, Mary went to art school, and then she went to work in one of the few places that was hiring artists during the Great Depression: Walt Disney Studios. She was one of the first women to work there, and she was so excited to finally be in a place where she could allow “her colors to run and dance and play as they pleased.” Unfortunately, the men in charge at the studio did not want to make use of Mary’s glorious color-filled ideas. The wanted to stick to black and white and they told Mary to “follow the rules.”

Mary did try to do as she was told, but suppressing her passion for color turned out to be impossible, and in the end she left Walt Disney’s world and she found work that allowed her to create the colorful art that was dear to her heart. Though she loved the freedom that she now had, Mary couldn’t help missing Walt Disney, who really seemed to appreciate her colors and her abstract and retro designs.

This colorful picture book tells the story of Mary Blair, whose passion for creating colorful art was boundless. Many people did not understand or value her style, but a few did and thanks to them Mary’s art persists today in children’s books and other graphic rich media. She also paved the way for artists who wanted to create art that was different, exciting, and fresh.

At the back of the book readers will find an author’s note which offers them further information about Mary and her work.