Anytime J.B. Kaufman puts out a new book, you know it’s going to be out-of-this-world incredible. His newest release, Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic, is no exception. It perfectly details and encapsulates the making of one of Walt Disney’s greatest masterpieces, Pinocchio.
Unlike most art books that are released concurrently with their respective films, this book is more of a detailed history rather than a book focused on the art. While the art is immerse, ranging from character model sheets and concept art to storyboards, background layout paintings, and photos from production, it is not the main focus of the book. The narrative and journey that Walt took while hemade this film takes center stage.
Since Pinocchio was released such a long time ago, the amount of painstaking research and effort that Kaufman had to put into this book is extraordinary. Based on the vast amount of information and details that he’s able to pack into this monster of a book, one would think that the film was released just last week.
Like his otherbooks, Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic starts off with a primer on the history of the source material; in this case, it’s Carlo Collodi’s classic book The Adventures of Pinocchio. It’s important to give the reader a baseline on the original Pinocchio story, so that, in later chapters, we can better contextualize and understand what changes Disney made for his version.
Then the book goes deep into the pre-production, production, and release of the film. Each section is incredibly detailed and features histories, anecdotes, and quotes from the crew and filmmakers to further expand our understanding of the intricacies that went into the creation of this film. The book takes a deep dive into all aspects of the film, from Pinocchio’s design and personality change to the music and multi-plane camera.
Surprisingly, one of my favorite parts of the book is found in the appendices, specifically Appendix A (which features an incredibly detailed compilation of production notes). This section takes you scene by scene and gives information on all the key players who were involved in every aspect of that scene, from the directors and animatos to the other crew members. This section would be incredibly valuable to any animator or artist who would like to research the scenes that their favorite animator was involved in, or anyone simply interested in the granular details of Pinocchio‘s production.
Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic and its contents are so much more than the high-level making-of featurettes that can be found on most Blu-ray/DVD releases. It is the most thorough and comprehensive history about Pinocchio that you will find anywhere. Every page is awe-inspiring and impressive. It is a must-own for any Pinocchio, Disney, or animation fan.
Morgan is an Arizona native who's had a lifelong passion for animation. Her favorite animated films are Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, and The Iron Giant. She earned an MBA in Marketing from Arizona State University and now runs her own business where she coaches and trains entrepreneurs how to launch, grow & scale successful online businesses.