Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Reading From Belle's Library | Jim Henson, The Biography

This summer I thought I'd rerun some of my favorite Disney related book titles for summer reading recommendations. I know I am always looking for another good book for summer travel! This book remains, for me, one of the best Disney reads ever.

I grew up watching the Muppets and Fraggle Rock. It was appointment TV! I have an incredible love for the Muppets and for Jim Henson's creative genius. Reading Jim Henson, The Biography, by Brian Jay Jones was simply inevitable. But it WAS a commitment! This book is long and Mitchner-esque in scope. No stone is left unturned. But if you feel the same way I do about the Henson creations (including that work which is NOT highlighted by Disney), you will find this book an incredible journey into the creative spirit that was Jim Henson; this book is a joy to read.

I have an affinity for non-fiction. I realize it doesn't appeal to everyone, but I love to know how people have dealt with the challenges of this world and come out the other side the people they are (or were). Even with all the history and rather dull information that was included in this book, the personality of Jim Henson comes through in such a way as though I feel like I actually knew him. And to hear about his creative process, the incarnation of his imaginings, the successes and the failures, the collaborative process, and the joy he had for life was thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, I'm not sure I can convey how touching this portrait of Jim is, except to say, I actually was brought to tears in the end. Not something that generally happens to me!

Even realizing how many projects Jim Henson was involved with in his short life was truly amazing. I bet you didn't know the Muppets were a part of Saturday Night Live for a while, did you? Reading about his collaboration with Frank Oz, and his friendship with David Lazer were simply fascinating. And finally getting the details about the negotiations with Disney and how much Jim enjoyed working with the imagineers was inspiring.

If you are involved in the creative arts in any way, or just loved the work of Jim Henson and that of his Creature Shop, then this book is definitely for you. I highly recommend the audiobook, as the narrator does a bang-up job of voicing all the people (and muppets) in Jim's life.

Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

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