Like many of my peers, as I grew up, my interest in animation gravitated toward the full animation of the Golden Age: Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, et al, for a long while disdaining any form of animated minimalism, even the kind represented in this book. By the age of 7 or 8, we had come to associate Top Cat, Deputy Dawg, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and all the minimal animation that had once been among our favorites with shoddy cheapness. (Even as a small child, I remember several of us sitting around talking about cartoons, and laughing to scorn at the way the same background tree kept passing every couple of seconds in Hanna-Barbera chase scenes. We wondered, did they think we weren't catching that?!) 'Limited animation', those dread words, became poision for all us growing young animation fans.
I'm not sure when my respect and interest in minimal/modern animation returned in a changed form, but I think it had to be in the mid 80s, when the best of UPA appeared suddenly on a couple of VHS tapes: Gerald McBoing Boing, The Tell-Tale Heart, Unicorn in the Garden, Christopher Crumpet, The Rise of Duton Lange, Family Circus, etc. On the rebound, the '50s fine art/graphic design style of these cartoons knocked me out. After seeing these shorts, I started seeking out more examples of this style of animation in old TV commercial reels, and then started noticing the style spilling over into point of purchase, packaging design and magazine ads of the period. By this point, I was a fatally hooked "modern."
This book will throughly scratch the itch of those baby boomers whose earliest TV memories may include those brief Tom Terrific segments from Captain Kangaroo, as well as the younger reader who will feel the irresistable draw of a very strong retro style. The pictures (and there are a ton of them) are pretty, and instantly evocative, and the text hits a smart median between scholarly and entertaining.
Five stars. If you have anyone with any level of popular art/film/animation/graphic design interest on your Christmas list, I'd bear this book in mind.