Early-1976, aged 17 and still in high school, aspiring artist Tim Burton sent both a letter and copy of his illustrated children’s book — The Giant Zlig — to Walt Disney Productions in the hope that they would publish it. Weeks later, he received a very polite rejection letter from an editor named T. Jeanette Kroger in which she outlined her impressions of his submitted work and offered predominantly positive feedback. Both letters can be seen below.
I am submitting this book in hopes that you might consider publishing it. The book has been layed out in rough form, and I would be glad to make any changes that you feel would be nessecary. I would hope to hear from you either way. Thankyou.
February 19, 1976
Here are some brief impressions of your book, The Giant Zlig.
STORY: The story is simple enough for a young audience (age 4-6), cute, and shows a grasp of the language much better than I would expect from one of today’s high school students, despite occasional lapses in grammar and spelling. It may, however, be too derivative of the Seuss works to be marketable–I just don’t know. But I definitely enjoyed reading it.
ART: Considering that you suffer from a lack of the proper tools and materials, the art is very good. The characters are charming and imaginative, and have sufficient variety to sustain interest. Your layout is also good–it shows good variety in point-of-view. Consequently, I not only enjoyed reading about the Giant Zlig, but I got a chuckle watching him, too.
I hope my comments please you. Thanks for the opportunity to read The Giant Zlig; keep up the good work, and good luck.
Very truly yours,
T. Jeanette Kroger
Walt Disney Productions