Long before Walt Disney, a young woman revolutionized the landscape of animation using light, a pair of scissors, and her imagination. From acclaimed author C. E. Winters and debut illustrator Matt Schu, STEM meets the arts in this engaging nonfiction picture book biography about Lotte Reiniger. Cut! is an exceptional choice for classrooms and for fans of Hidden Figures, I Dissent, and the Questioneers books.
In the 1920s, when young women had limited opportunities, Lotte Reiniger used her curiosity and ingenuity to change the landscape of animation forever. Inspired by the films of her youth, and encouraged by teachers and mentors working in film at the time, Lotte Reiniger honed her skills in cutting out paper silhouettes to use in stop-motion animation.
Eventually, her talent and her drive led her to invent the multiplane camera, which allowed her to give her animation depth of field. With her small team, Lotte designed and directed the oldest full-length animated film in existence.
Acclaimed author C. E. Winters and debut artist Matt Schu expertly introduce young readers to Lotte Reiniger, a remarkable and often overshadowed historical figure. Balancing biographical information with a compelling story, Cut! follows Lotte Reiniger from childhood to her first groundbreaking accomplishments. Matt Schu’s dynamic illustrations draw inspiration from Reiniger’s own artistry and are full of detail, color, and light. Cut! is an excellent nonfiction picture book perfect for classrooms and family sharing.
Features extensive backmatter, including a timeline of Lotte Reiniger’s life, an author’s note, and sources.
Matt Schu is the illustrator of Cut!: How Lotte Reiniger and a Pair of Scissors Revolutionized Animation, My Cat Does Ballet, The Islands of Elsewhere, and the forthcoming Cosmic Collisions: Asteroids vs. Comet (2024). He studied art and design at the University of Oregon and worked as a graphic designer and editorial illustrator before switching his focus to book illustration and fine art. Matt Schu lives in Portland, Oregon.
“With a refrain of ‘snip, snip, snip!’ the story introduces readers to German film pioneer Lotte Reiniger (1899–1981). Lotte’s adolescence coincided with the dawn of cinema, a time when movies ‘were silent but filled with magical sights’ . . . Schu’s exquisite digital illustrations possess a strong sense of illumination and depth, often suggesting a tactile quality, as if constructed from paper.” — Horn Book (starred review)
“This story shines a light on artist, moviemaker, inventor, and trailblazer Lotte Reiniger. Born in Germany, Reiniger loved using paper and scissors to make beautiful art. . . . Winters and Schu do an excellent job in telling the story of Reiniger, who created the first animated film and is indirectly responsible for all of the animated cartoons and movies audiences have enjoyed for generations. It is story of hope, rejection, and determination, and is inspiring to all artists. A wonderful addition to public, school, and classroom collections.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“In the early 1900s, Lotte Reiniger used a traditional German art of scissorcut paper for creating silhouette puppet-play characters with movable joints. She was spellbound by movies . . . determined to develop a way of recreating her puppet plays as films. . . . This picture book offers insights into her achievements as well as the early history of animated films. Schu’s handsome digital artwork makes good use of silhouettes as well as dramatic lighting effects to illustrate Reiniger’s career while drawing children into her story.” — Booklist
“The creator of the world’s oldest surviving full-length animated film is celebrated. . . . Winters keeps the storytelling crisp and to the point. . . . Schu’s art, meanwhile, brings the magic of Reiniger’s cut paper technique to life on these pages, integrating the silhouettes with her trials and triumphs.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A ‘snip, snip, snip!’ refrain fittingly compels this matter-of-fact chronicle of German animator Charlotte ‘Lotte’ Reiniger (1899–1981). . . . Emphasizing chiaroscuro via a limited palette, digital depictions from Schu appropriately foreground silhouettes rather than the figure herself. Dream-centered text by Winters articulates the labor put in by its subject, making for an informative account of a successful life in the movie business, involving ‘a pair of scissors, a great deal of patience, and her talented hands.’ Back matter includes a timeline, author’s note, and glossary.” — Publishers Weekly