Disney make amazing movies but they also have a few books under the belt, and have turned our classic favourite books into magical movies too. Here are 10 Disney books you must read.
The Inspiration Behind our Favourite Disney Films
Peter Pan is one of my favourite Disney movies. I have a tradition of watching it before my birthday every year and lament that I’m actually growing up.
The original book is also a favourite of mine. Disney changed quite a lot about the book, which is to be expected. Peter Pan is the only book I’ve read where the protagonists are children and feel like kids. Many authors can’t pull of writing characters younger than them, but J.M Barrie did and that’s what makes Peter Pan so magical.
You might also enjoy Finding Neverland (not that Finding Neverland) which is a film starring Johnny Depp about J.M Barrie’s inspiration behind Peter Pan.
Treasure Planet is one of Disney’s underrated movies. There are so many adaptions of Treasure Island that Disney’s space-pirate take on the film is a breath of fresh air.
Like Peter Pan, of course the book is different but the change is welcome given that Captain Amelia was based on Captain Alexander Smollett in the books, so we could have at least one strong female character for the little girls watching. I also still don’t know how the movie wasn’t bigger for Morph and Morph alone, he could rival baby Yoda and Baby Groot.
Alice’s Advenures in Wonderland
The Alice in Wonderland books are just as wonderfully weird as you’d expect, and the rumours that Lewis Carrol was on drugs while writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass don’t feel entirely unfounded.
Out of all of them, I feel this is the one most true to the original film, which is actually still a bit creepy. I don’t think this felt as blissful and innocent as Peter Pan, but still worth reading.
Books Inspired By Disney Movies
The Surface Breaks
The Surface Breaks is actually an anomaly on this list, because it was inspired by the original Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson and not so much the Disney film. However I haven’t read the original Little Mermaid, and the Surface Breaks is a feminst retelling of the tale so I felt it was worth mentioning.
The Surface Breaks is about the youngest daughters of the Sea King, Gaia (also known as Murigeann AND Grace) as she escapes Sea Kingdom for love and to save herself from the man her father has her betrothed to. She finds out that the human world isn’t much better.
Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel
The Hocus Pocus book does have a stupid name, I will admit that. However, it’s not a bad story. The sequel by A. W. Jantha is set 25 years later (on the real 25th anniversary) about Max and Alison’s daughter who doesn’t beleive the story of how they met. Poppy sneaks out of the Halloween party he parents threw to keep the kids of Salem out of trouble and accidently brings the Sanderson sisters back for one more night of havoc.
It has it’s cheesy moments, but if you like Disney and YA then you’ll love this. Disney also seems more confident putting LGBTQ+ characters into technically non-canon books than the films, so I guess that’s better than nothing, but one day I hope they step up.
Fairest of All
Fairest of All is about the Evil Queen from Snow White before she became the mother of the Evil Stepmother trope. This book is part of the Disney Villians series by Serena Valentino, who wrote the remainder of the books in this section, which are all connected.
The Queen was the daughter of a mirror maker who resented her as her mother died in childbirth, who becomes the King’s second wife after Snow White’s mother dies. In the first few years, the Queen is kind, but insecure, and raises Snow White like her own, but when the King returns from battle less than he was before he left, and eventually doesn’t return at all, she loses herself too.
The king’s relatives, the odd sisters corrupt the Queen and we see the events of the movie play out.
Poor Unfortunate Soul
Poor Unfortunate Soul is about how Ursula came to be the Sea Witch, and her side of the Little Mermaid film, where she tries to harness all the power of the ocean to remove Triton from the throne. Ursula and Triton share the power of the sea between them; his in his trident and hers in her conch necklace as their parents intended on them ruling together. However Triton casts his sister aside, and she decides to seek revenge and become the most powerful witch in the world.
The Beast Within
The Beast Within a more in-depth tale of how Prince Adam became the Beast, and why the curse was put on him in the first place. Like Poor Unfortunate Souls we get a little prequel and then hear the alternative side to the story from the movie.
I was wondering why the Beast was in this series because he’s not a villian. He might not have started out a nice character, but he redeems himself; Gaston is the real villain of the story. However, as these books are all part of the same overarching tale, you’re just going to have to trust me when I saw the Beast’s contribution was needed.
Mother Knows Best
Mother knows best is about none other than Mother Gothel from Rapunzel. I was excited about this one because I firmly believe that Mother Gothel is the best Disney Villian we’ve had in a long time. Her backstory is just unexpected but fitting and tells of the life that Mother Gothel almost had and what drove her to kidnap Rapunzel, and how her own mother also knew best. The tale also alters how you interpret Tangled. Out of all the Disney villain’s books, Mother Knows Best is the one I couldn’t put down.
The Disney book I want to get my hands on:
The Price of Freedom
I’ve wanted to read the Price of Freedom by A.C. Crispin for a very very long time now, but I can’t find it anywhere! I remember reading a book version of Dead Man’s Chest as a child because I’ve always adored Pirates of the Caribbean, but the Price of Freedom is a prequel. I can’t say whether or not this is a good Disney book as I haven’t read it, but because it’s been so elusive for so long it’s very hyped up in my mind. There’s some super expensive first editions on Abe books and still expensive used copies. If Disney want’s to sponsor me or gift me a copy that would be great…
The Price of Freedom is about how Jack got into piracy when his days as an honest sailor come to an end us Beckett gives him a job that goes against his morals. Jack has to choose his freedom or doing what’s right.
Have you read any of these Disney books?