Benson Shum knows a thing a two about animation.
His latest, “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2,” comes out in 2018. The original “Wreck-It Ralph” was Shum’s first Disney film.
Now the Canada-born artist can add author to his resume.
Shum’s children’s book, “Holly’s Day at the Pool,” came out April 25. It’s part of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase, a series of original picture books by Disney artists.
The story follows a pink hippo named Holly who fearfully imagines icebergs and snapping turtles when her father takes her swimming. Eventually, she finds the courage to go for a swim.
The idea came from Shum’s 3-year-old niece.
“She was transitioning from taking baths to showers and she didn’t like it,” Shum said. “As adults we sometimes forget what that’s like. To a child who has never experienced that, it could feel like a waterfall.”
In the story, Holly faces a swimming pool turned waterfall and asks, “What if … I get water in my eyes? Or my nose? Or my ears?”
“You have to tell a story in those 32 pages,” Shum said.
Unlike a Disney film with hundreds of animators and other artists, “Holly’s” story and art was all him. Carol Arrow wrote the copy.
Though he uses a computer for his Disney work, the book’s art was first drawn by hand with pen, pencil and watercolor.
“I’ve always been drawn to children’s books,” Shum said. “I love the form of it and the simplicity of it and the storytelling.”
He used skills learned at Disney — character development, story, design — to help with creation of the book.
But Shum didn’t have the advantage of moving images to tell his story.
“You’re trying to encapsulate all that emotion into one moment,” he said.
Benson Shum’s Holly’s Day at the Pool
What: Readings and signings Saturday.
Where/Where: 10:30 a.m. at Barnes & Noble, 5711 Main St. SW, Lakewood; 5:30-8 p.m. at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave. Tacoma.