Author: Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Reading Level: Ages 7 to 10
Curriculum Subjects: History
The Blast to the Past series is about a group of third graders time traveling to convince historical figures from quitting at key points in history. In Disney's Dream they travel back to 1928 to ensure that Walt Disney makes the first cartoon with sound ("Steamboat Willie").
Disney's Dream does a great job of weaving historical facts in with the science fiction adventure of the kids on a mission with a tight deadline. The history aspect is mainly about the making of Steamboat Willie, but there are also mentions of Charlie Chaplin and what movie theaters were like in the 1920s. Additionally, there is discussion of some of Walt Disney's other projects and what the Disney company has become when they consider the question of what if Walt Disney gave up on making Steamboat Willie.
This book is a good pick for getting kids interested in looking deeper into history topics. For one, using the concept of thinking about how today's world would be different if a historical figure gave up helps with critical thinking and understanding the importance of different people, places, and events. At the same time it also teaches about perseverance and in particular following your dreams.
Disney's Dream also provides examples of working together to solve problems. This includes drawing on the members of the group having different strengths, such as Jacob knowing about electronics and explaining how a projector works to Walt and Bo being a bookworm and providing useful information throughout. Near the end there is also the member of the group who narrates the story, Abigail, making up with her older sister, CeCe, who then ends up helping them with their mission.
Types of Readers Book Might Appeal To & Multiple Intelligence Categories
- Those interested in film, animation, Mickey Mouse, and Disney history.
- Siblings may relate to Abigail and CeCe's sibling rivalry and/or eventual working together. (Interpersonal)
- The assignment the kids are given at the end to write about their dreams and how they will achieve them can be a good exercise for readers to do themselves, especially if they already have some ideas about what they might want to do in the future. (Intrapersonal)
- Walt Disney Coloring Page
- Walt Disney Lesson Plan
- Watch the Steamboat Willie Cartoon
- Watch Charlie Chaplin in The Circus - This seems like the scene described in the book when the kids time travel to September 18, 1928.
- Changing Tides: A Gates Family Mystery by Catherine Hapka - This is a historical fiction novel inspired by the Gates family from National Treasure. It is set in colonial America.
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