The Walt Disney Company has built an empire out of animated films and have had a string of hits since they released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. However, as many fans know, many of the animated classics that were published by Disney are based on stories that are in the public domain. Those who enjoy Disney films, but would like a glimpse of the original stories used as a basis for them should definitely check out the following free ebooks.
Long before Disney made an animated movie about the street rat who wished to become a prince, Aladdin was a Middle Eastern folk tale. The Disney version made a couple of changes to the original story, such as renaming or even combining a couple of major characters as well as introducing new ones. Fans who want to know more about the story that inspired the animated classic should read this standalone book, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp or the compilation, The Arabian Nights: Their Best-Known Tales, which is also available for free.
by Lewis Carroll
Walt Disney Animation Studios released their film version of Alice In Wonderland back in 1951, but the original fantasy novel was penned by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson using the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Of course, Disney were not the only or even the first ones to turn the book into a movie, but their version still remains one of the most famous. The book, which follows the adventures of a girl named Alice after she tumbles through a rabbit hole and ends up in a fantasy world, has since gone on to play an enormous influence on pop culture.
Although the original tale of Beauty and the Beast was written by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villeneuve, the story has since been shortened and rewritten numerous times. While Villeneuve’s version was published in 1740, it is believed by researchers that the origins of the tale are actually much older and could stretch back as far as 4,000 years. Disney released their animated film in 1991, but anyone interested in the older tales of how love conquers all can read this short story or check it out in the Blue Fairy Book, which was complied by Andrew Lang and published in 1905.
Cinderella is another example of a folk tale that has been around for many, many years before Disney turned it into an animated classic in 1950. The story doesn’t just have ancient roots, but also many international versions, with variations cropping up in countries as far flung as China, Finland, Korea and The Middle East. This free ebook version is a great way to get reacquainted with the story and the version published by Charles Perrault, which is arguably one of the most popular, can also be read for free in The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault.
by James M. Barrie
Walt Disney released Peter Pan, the animated film, in 1953. It features the titular Peter Pan, as well as his nemesis Captain Hook and fairy friend, Tinker Bell. The story was based on the characters created by J. M. Barrie, who was a Scottish novelist as well as a playwright. The origins of Peter Pan can be traced to a 1902 novel he wrote titled The Little White Bird. However, it is the 1904 stage play, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, and subsequent expanded novel, Peter and Wendy, which tells the story everyone is familiar with.
by Carlo Collodi
The tale of Pinocchio the marionette with dreams of becoming a real boy has become a children’s classic, but the original story was penned by Italian author Carlo Collodi. It started out as a serial between 1881 and 1882 before being compiled into a book in 1883. The popularity of Pinocchio has resulted in it being translated to almost 300 languages and it still remains one of the most widely read books in the world. Disney turned the story into an animated musical fantasy in 1940, their second after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs three years earlier.
by Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo wrote his tale about the misshapen bell-ringer who falls in love with a beautiful gypsy girl back in 1831. Film adaptations of the movie were made as early as 1911 and there were already six previous films, including an animated one made in Australia, before Disney released their animated musical drama in 1996. What makes the original story so unique compared to the film versions is the great lengths to which the author went to describe the gothic architecture of Paris. This is something that Hugo felt was being neglected, damaged and even outright destroyed as Paris became a more modern city.
by Rudyard Kipling
English author Rudyard Kipling wrote his 1894 book, The Jungle Book, as a collection of stories based around a young boy who is raised by wolves and can communicate with animals. The purpose of the book was to teach moral lessons and some believe that Kipling actually wrote the stories for his young daughter who sadly died at age 6 from pneumonia. Disney made use of the stories and characters for their 1967 animated musical adventure, The Jungle Book, which was also the last film produced by Walt Disney before his death. The film features a lighter tone than the book and was followed by a string of sequels and spin-offs.