Action!: How Movies Began
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of the Year
In this “stunning” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) picture book, award-winning nonfiction creator Meghan McCarthy tells the story of how motion pictures came to be invented and the story of the many people who helped create them.
Movies take us on adventures, introduce us to new worlds, and make us feel, but how did they start?
In her trademark easy-to-follow narrative voice, this fact-filled picture book tells the story of the evolution of movies and the people who worked hard to create them—both on-screen and behind the scenes. In fascinating detail, she shows how early photography capturing motion became silent films, which led to the first color films and how those building blocks allowed for the inspiring movies of today.
Praise for Action!: How Movies Began
McCarthy breezes through more than a century of cinematic history in this whirlwind tour of select technologies, genres, and films. . Embellished with oversize eyes, playfuAn author’s note justifies the idiosyncratic high-level coverage, describing the book as a “jumping-off point.” Extensive back matter concludes.
— -- Publishers Weekly
This attractive and accessible overview of film history also offers a remarkable amount of absorbing detail ... introduces trailblazers such as Georges Méliès, Josephine Baker, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton... the main body of the book will be enough for readers seeking a brief history, those looking to build on this foundation will appreciate the lengthy bibliography and the list of films cited in the book.
— -- BOOKLIST
*Movie history deserves no less than this stunning encapsulation, cleverly designed and gorgeously rendered.
— Kirkus Reviews -- *STARRED REVIEW*
McCarthy presents an ambitious encapsulation of the birth of movies with humor and modern touches.
Blending her customary, big-eyed cartoons with a more sophisticated realism, McCarthy offers a stirring, occasionally quirky deep dive into early film. From Eadweard Muybridge’s galloping horse to the last movies of the silent era, a selection of famous films is presented as McCarthy chronicles cinema history. Meticulous art captures architectural details, silent film stars, and even the world’s earliest example of a silly cat video (“The Boxing Cats” from 1894). The book links early films with movies kids may have seen; the Maschinenmensch of Metropolis is paired with C-3PO of Star Wars, Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last with Hugo and Back to the Future, and so on. Some inclusions, like Johnny Depp’s appearance in Benny & Joon, are unfortunate in light of their stars’ behavior. McCarthy briefly addresses the prejudice confronted by people of color in the film industry, with special attention paid to Josephine Baker and contemporary films like Black Panther. Backmatter includes five stories from film’s past, all worthy of their own books. The overall effect is less exhausting than it is inspiring. Kids will reach the end and likely be disappointed that the story doesn’t continue. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
Movie history deserves no less than this stunning encapsulation, cleverly designed and gorgeously rendered.
(author’s note, bibliography) (Nonfiction picture book. 7-12)
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW