Parents' Guide to

Bill Peet: An Autobiography

By Tanya Smith, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Former Disney illustrator shares his life story.

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With tenderness and affection, Bill Peet spins his life story into a children's tale in this illustration-packed volume. The first half covers Peet's boyhood adventures in the Midwest with enjoyable tales about drawing and fishing. The only element missing from the first part is a deeper sense of how Peet felt during the book's most poignant moments: being teased for not having his father around, and his father's sudden reappearance in his life, an event Peet says "marked the end of a happy childhood."

The second half of the narrative mainly details the pressures Peet felt as a Disney employee, as well as his struggle to develop a solo career. Still, it shines a revealing light on the inner workings at Disney, and readers are treated to the tale of how the classic song "When You Wish Upon a Star," from the Disney movie Pinocchio, came to be. With a breezy storytelling style and delightful illustrations, Peet moves readers through the events of his life; although the book runs nearly 200 pages, the drawings take up more than half.

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