Monday, March 21, 2011

Children's Stories on Film: New Book by John Cech About Weston Woods

John Cech is a professor in the Children's Literature program at the University of Florida. He has just published Imagination And Innovation: The Story Of Weston Woods--an account of the earliest company to begin yoking children's books with film and other visual media. The book is published by Scholastic Press.

Jan Sussina has praised the book in the recent Children's Literature Association Quarterly: (requires a subscription)

The book was also touted in Wired:

I’ve written before about the wonderful picture book adaptations made by a company called Weston Woods. Long before big studios began turning books like Where the Wild Things Are into big-budget CGI/live action features, Weston Woods was creating entrancing videos from classic storybooks using the original illustrations and text. The result was more art-house film than special-effects extravaganza.

I recently revisited the Weston Woods oeuvre when Scholastic, which now owns the company, sent me Imagination And Innovation:The Story Of Weston Woods by John Cech. The book, largely an homage to Weston Woods founder Morton Schindel, tells the history of the studio and how it moved from making film strips from still slides, to “iconographic” films in which the camera moved around the static page (zooming in on details that might be overlooked by a casual reader), to full-blown animated short features.

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