As a lover of children’s books and a lover of all things Disney, I can’t believe I have gone so long without discovering Disney created books that weren’t based on “Disney” movies! Where have I been! I stumbled across it by chance.

My husband and I were walking through Barnes and Noble and like always I was drawn to the back of the store to the children’s section. Displayed on one of the counters was the cutest book about bugs, titled Bug Zoo. I was immediately drawn to the cover.

After flipping through several pages, I noticed the word “DISNEY.” What! No wonder I loved this book! As I continued to read through the book, I found out the author/illustrator is Andy Harkness. He is an art director for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. Until that moment, I had no idea Disney animators were illustrating books and I had no idea that www.books.disney.com existed until I read it inside the back cover of the book.

Bug Zoo, Back Cover

Bug Zoo, Back Cover

That’s all it took! I bought the book, read it before I got home, and fell in love with every page. As a professor of Education, I teach teacher’s how to teach. This semester, I am teaching teachers how to teach Science to elementary-aged students. So…this book really captured my attention. There is so much education about bugs just inside the front and back covers alone! Let alone, each and every beautifully illustrated page.

Bug Zoo, Front Inside Cover

Bug Zoo, Front Inside Cover

Bug Zoo, Sample Page

Bug Zoo, Sample Page

As I researched the author/illustrator, Andy Harkness, I found out he has worked on some of my favorite Disney films such as Moana, Pocahontas, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, Tangled, and Frozen, as well as my all-time favorite animated shorts, “Mickey Mouse’s Get a Horse!” In addition, he has won an Emmy Award for art directing ABC’s “Prep and Landing,” which happens to be one of my favorite Christmas cartoons of all time. This guy is great!

In addition to books from this series, there are numerous book series that are accompanied by Educator Guides which can be used to plan lessons and activities within the classroom or at home. All Educator Guides are connected to Common Core Standards.  Numerous videos are available that may be used as an anticipatory set or motivator.  They may be used in conjunction with other lessons and materials found at The Educated Mouse.  Several apps are available to download stories; librarians are certainly not left out of the mix with an area available to invite authors into the school or classroom.  Click here for a link to Educator Guides as well as book reviews conducted by The Educated Mouse.

Back to the book…this 40 page, hardcover book is meant for pre-school and kindergarten aged students, but I think first graders would love it too! The plot of the story is about a boy who decides to collect jars of bugs (of all sizes) for his zoo (I won’t give away the rest). Bug Zoo is a wonderful book and is just one of several books from the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series. This book is a must have for any classroom, home library, or for any Disney fanatic! I give this book 5 out of 5 Educated Mice!

**Be on the lookout for more Disney animator book reviews and book read alouds found on our YouTube page.