Uncle Walt: The Story of Walt Disney by Waln Brown
Walt Disney grew up dirt poor. His father beat him and his three brothers with his fists, saws, hammers, sticks, belts ... anything he could lay his hands on, leading to two of Walt's older brothers running away from home. Elias Disney also made his remaining two sons, daughter and wife work endlessly, including waking Walt and his older brother Roy at 3:30 am each morning to deliver newspapers.
Walt's love for drawing and art took root early in childhood. By the age of seven, he began selling his sketches and drawings to neighbors and at local businesses. During these grade school years, his best friends became farm animals, including a pig named "Porker", the fat pig he rode like a horse. But older brother Roy was his best human friend, both during childhood and for the rest of his life.
At the age of 16, Walt dropped out of school to join the military and fight in World War I. Turned down because he was underage, Walt joined the Red Cross, where he drove an ambulance -- an ambulance he covered with cartoon characters. He had already begun to entertain people with his wonderful sense of humor.
Walt tried to make a living with his artwork by starting several studios. His lack of business savvy, however, led to one failure after another. But failure didn't stop the young man with so much imagination. He had a vision and stuck with it. Finally, when he moved to Hollywood and partnered with Roy, his luck changed. Walt became interested in animation and began experimenting with new technologies. It was a turning point.
On a train ride from New York to Hollywood, Walt made his first sketches of Mortimer Mouse, who his wife urged him to rename Mickey Mouse. At age 27, Walt Disney began making cartoons starring Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse became America's favorite cartoon character and Walt Disney Studios grew in leaps and bounds.
Over the next 38 years, Walt Disney conquered family entertainment, including cartoons, movies and television. He also helped to win World War II and created a world-wide empire of theme parks for children and families. A generation of kids who grew up in the 1950s called Walt Disney "Uncle Walt." He came into our livingroom through TV shows such as the "Mickey Mouse Club" every day after school and one night a week in the hit show "Disneyland."
On December 15, 1966, at 9:30 a.m., 10 days after his 65th birthday, Uncle Walt passed. Mouseketeers and “kids of all ages” wore their coonskin caps or mouse ears in tribute and shed a tear that day. They had lost a family member, a much beloved uncle who made them smile … and imagine.
Written for students and young adult readers, this biography also includes an extensive vocabulary builder and ten thought-provoking review questions. Great for book reports and homeschoolers. Also a wonderful story for parents to read to their children before visiting Disneyland, Disney World or other Disney theme parks.