Hello! Welcome back to Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Books, the series where I match three books to a Disney song. This time I am here with a song recommendation from Fran Laniado – If I Can’t Love Her from the stage adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. I’m glad she recommended it as I absolutely love this song for its emotion and tumultuous nature. It gives such a great insight into the Beast as a character and how he struggles sharing his inner thoughts.Continue reading
Does anyone else feel that February seems to pass quickly compared to quite a lot of months, and not just because it is the shortest month of the year?
I don’t think it helps that Easter is super early this year, because then mine and my sister’s birthdays will only be around the corner and I want to stay 25 for just a little bit longer. I vowed I’d be able to land a job by 26 and that’s not happening. Yikes!
Anyway, I’m here today with the monthly wrap up.
I managed to read quite a bit in February, thanks in part to some audiobooks, although I did have a couple of unfortunate DNFs. I’m quite happy though because all the books I finished were brilliant!
Let’s just dive right in.
Medieval Lives by Terry Jones:
It was interesting and I do want to know more about life in the Middle Ages but I found the writing to be dry and boring. To me it read like a text book and I wasn’t expecting that from this at all. I think I’m just a little underwhelmed with it.
Rating – 3 out of 5 stars
Witchborn by Nicholas Bowling
I was really excited to read this because it has witches and it’s historical fiction set at the time of Elizabeth 1st. It was also a cover buy because, wow, it’s gorgeous! However I felt really down by Alyce and the world building. Her constant skipping from place to place made it hard for me to get a feel for her surroundings. It’s a shame because the concept sounding like something I would truly love.
Rating 2.5 out of 5 stars
A Second Chance, Roman Holiday, A Trail Through Time, and No Time Like The Past by Jodi Taylor:
Books 3, 3.5, 4 and 5 in the Chronicles of St Mary’s series.
Without spoiling anything, all I can say is that this series is the definition of crazy and action packed. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride at the moment and one that might give you some whiplash. I certainly felt bombarded by all the feelings! Luckily No Time Like The Past ended on a laughable high so there’s no crisis to find the next book in the series for a couple of days.
Rating – 5 out of 5 stars
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Some of you might be wondering why the hell I re-read a book I wasn’t that keen on in the first place, but Obsidio is coming out and I wanted to jog my memory on what happens across both Illuminae and Gemina. All I can say is that thanks to the audiobook, all my opinions regarding the story, the multimedia format, and the characters have completely changed. The audiobook was phenomenal, and it is arguably the best one I’ve ever listened to. The use of different narrators and sound effects instantly transported me to the Hypatia and the Alexander and I was on the edge of my seat with every listen. I’m still not the biggest fan of Kady and Ezra as characters but I felt more in tune with them this time and I wasn’t as infuriated by their actions. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I loved it!
Rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
I might as well direct you to my review of this crazy and twisted book because I don’t know what else to say about it at the moment. All I know is that it completely surprised me, especially in regards to the ‘revelation.’ I knew it was going to come at some point as I was already vaguely aware of it, but due to the slow buildup I didn’t expect when. It was only after it that the speed of the novel went from 0-60 in an instant and I was thrust into a whole whirlwind of occurrences that I didn’t anticipate. It’s also certainly made me very conflicted about my feelings in regards to the relationship between Maxim de Winter and the current Mrs de Winter. It’s incredibly problematic but I can’t help sympathising with their insecurities and status.
4.5 out of 5 stars
I did also start reading This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada but I don’t know if I’m going to finish it by the time this post goes live. I’m also wondering if it is worth putting it down for now because I’ve lost all motivation to pick it up, even though I’m intrigued by what I’ve already read. Hmm.
That is that.
What books did you read in February?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!
2016 marks the 100th birthday of Roald Dahl, one of the greatest children’s authors of the Twentieth Century. His popular stories and characters continue to enchant the lives of many readers (including myself) but there is one not-so-well-known story that has the claim of being one of Roald Dahl’s first piece of writing for children. It is called Gremlins and based off those of Second World War fame – mythical creatures that sabotaged military aircraft. The premise is that a Hurricane pilot by the name of Gus tames these gremlins and persuades them to help him return to flying after being wounded.
What has this got to do with Disney, you may ask? Well the finished story was forwarded to many people until it ended up across the desk of our favourite film and entertainment entrepreneur, Walt Disney. He liked the story so much that he wanted to turn it into a film.
Walt Disney and Roald Dahl (a pilot in the RAF) met in July of 1942 and talks began. First to illustrate the story for a magazine so Disney had the chance to establish and copyright his own artistic vision of the characters, and also be the only claimant to Dahl’s original story concept. However this was far from simple as neither Disney, his animation team, nor Dahl could agree on a universal design for the little creatures.
In one of the discussions, Dahl said that “If only I had been able to come down and talk with you [Disney] about them, I know I could have, at any rate, given you an accurate description of what they looked like.”
Essentially, he was displeased with Disney’s design.
Nonetheless, the contract with Disney was signed in the October of 1942, although there were a couple of stipulations that Disney had to abide by:
- any material written by Disney had to be signed off by Dahl and the British Air Ministry
- Disney had to keep the air attaché of the British Embassy advised from time to time of story development, so that they could essentially approve the final version of said motion picture.
- Disney would provide office space at the studio to accommodate a technical advisor who would represent the interests of the Air Ministry throughout production.
With the popularity for Gremlins growing in 1942, it made good business sense for Disney to pursue the production of the film, a feature they’d temporarily titled ‘Gremlin Lore.’ However, that didn’t stop Walt from having some reservations due to the above stipulations. In addition, the feature was new territory for Disney in many ways:
- It combined live action and animation on a grand scale
- It was set during war times – something audiences wanted to escape
- The mythical central character had a physical appearance that was widely contested
- It was already a challenge finding the right approach to the material without also having to constantly please the British government.
What truly came out of the production was much displeasure. Alongside the contract clause, constant changes made to the film (the LA/A hybrid became 100% animation and scaled down to a short), problems with the mythical background of Gremlins, and other studio productions, Walt Disney began to tire of the concept. Thus in December of 1943, he broke the news to Dahl that The Gremlins was to be scrapped. A shorter version of the story was still published in Cosmopolitan with Dahl writing under the pen name “Pegasus” and the book was published as a book by Walt Disney and Random House – the proceeds going to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
From everything I’ve read about this project, what surprised me is how long it took for Walt Disney to eventually shelve Gremlins. Walt Disney is famous for being a stubborn and determined man so it almost seems out of character for him to decide against making the film despite all the problems it created. At the end of the day, I think Walt Disney made the right decision, although it’s interesting to speculate what would have happened with the film had it gone through production and distribution.
Would it have been successful?
Would it have become a cult classic?
What impact would it have had on wartime audiences?
We are never going to know what would have come out of Gremlins but I certainly think it is something that Roald Dahl should be remembered for. There’s also the added bonus in that he walked away from this collaboration with fondness and happy memories, unlike other authors we know who have worked with Disney. And since Disney has recently released The BFG into cinemas, maybe it’s time to remember that the history between Roald Dahl and his works goes back to the time of Gremlins, before any of his more popular works were written.
As well as looking on the official Roald Dahl website, all the information regarding his collaboration with Disney can be found in Disney During World War II, a well-written and interesting book detailing Disney’s contribution to allied victory.
A simplified account of Gremlins can also be found at:
I don’t know if Gremlins is available but if anyone is interested in Disney During WWII, you can purchase it from:
Book Depository (free worldwide delivery)
What do all you guys think about the collaboration between Disney and Roald Dahl? Was Walt Disney right to scrap Gremlins? Let me know in the comments below.
That’s everything from me today so thanks for reading, and have a brazzle dazzle day!