Famous Authors’ Harshest Rejection Letters

Rejected: The Giant Zlig, an illustrated book by Tim Burton

A ripe, 18-year-old Burton, still in high school, submitted his illustrated children’s book to Walt Disney Productions for consideration. That was 1976, and T. Jeanette Kroger, author of his rejection letter, didn’t see in The Giant Zlig what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, BAFTA, Cannes, and, it’s fair to say, the majority of humanity saw in him in later years. Kroger thanked Burton for his mail and made no mention of the possibility of publication but did give the artist some tips.

They read:

Dear Tim:

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