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Moose: Chapters from My Life
1st ed. cover
EditorRobert J. Sherman
AuthorRobert B. Sherman
Cover artistRobert J. Sherman (photograph and design)
CountryUnited States
Publication date
November 26, 2013 (hardback)
Preceded byWalt's Time[1] 

Moose: Chapters From My Life is the 459-page autobiography by the Academy Award-winning songwriter,[2] Robert B. Sherman. "Moose is a collection of fifty-four autobiographical short stories, arranged in such a way as to express a larger narrative."[3] The book was edited by Sherman's younger son, Robert J. Sherman, who also provided the general layout, cover art and graphic design for the book. Other than certain pages in the "My Time" photographic sections of Moose, (which were completed after the author's death on March 6, 2012) the majority of the book, including its innovative arrangement of chapters, was created during the author's lifetime and under his personal supervision. Moose was published by AuthorHouse Publishers of Bloomington, Indiana in association with AuthorSolutions, Penguin Random House Company affiliates.[4] First publication of the work occurred posthumously, on November 26, 2013. The majority of short stories which comprise the book, were written between 1993-2004 with one or two stories having been known to exist as early as 1945. Although early "mock-up" versions of the book were circulated among Sherman's close friends and members of his family in 2004, according to the editor's introductory chapter, "About Moose", mass publication had to be delayed "for reasons too cumbersome to delve into here."[5][6] Both the book and its author were credited in the 2013 Walt Disney film release, Saving Mr. Banks which starred Academy Award-winning actors Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. Actor B. J. Novak portrayed a young Robert Sherman in the film. Several scenes from the film drew direct inspiration from Moose. This was done with the author's consent.[7]


Moose is a collection of short stories taken from the author's life. Chapters were deliberately organized out of sequence. The purpose of this untraditional structure was to introduce the reader to the author's life story thematically rather than as a recounting of chronological events. Publishers were initially unimpressed with the author's stylistic approach, but the author felt strongly that the use of this technique was essential to the overall success of the narrative. This disagreement was, in part, what delayed publication by nearly a decade.[5]


Moose: Chapters From My Life 2016 Audible Audiobook Cover, Orchard Hill Press

Handwritten inscription

On the front page of the book is a facsimile of a handwritten letter (excerpt) written by Sherman to his parents (in 1944) as an 18-year-old US Army soldier, immediately prior to his deployment to Europe to fight in World War II. The letter was found by Sherman's son among his papers, in an envelope labeled, "To Be Opened Upon the Event of My Death". The excerpt reads: "If God placed my mission in this world as writing - I would have written for the benefit of my fellow man, and for his pleasure and observance of himself and his actions, (his injustices.) I would have spent my life devoted to showing man to himself in all his truth."


Most of the book is written in prose text. Moose is divided into seven major sections which are subdivided into an aggregate 54, true, anecdotal short stories. (The author was lauded for his candor.) Chapters cover a range of intriguing and/or transformative moments in the author's life. Subjects range from his service in the United States Army during World War II when he led the first squadron of eight men into Dachau Concentration Camp during its liberation, to his years working as a staff songwriter for Walt Disney at Disney Studios. Through the text, the author introduces the reader to scores of colorful real life characters (some famous, some who are otherwise unknown). Moose concludes with the author reflecting on the life he has led. The author makes these reflections, largely from his reading room in the Mayfair district of London, England, by then, his adopted home. (Sherman moved from Los Angeles to London shortly after his wife, Joyce's death in 2001; immediately after the 2002 premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

My Time (sections 1-4)

Interspersed between the major literary sections of Moose is a comprehensive, four-part series of photographic chapters entitled, "My Time". The "My Time" sub-chapters are an annotated, visual overview of Robert Sherman's life and relationships (both personal and professional). The four sub-chapters provide a linear context to what might otherwise read as a disparate collection of short stories. The photographic sub-chapters are a succinct yet comprehensive account of Sherman's relationship with his brother and songwriting partner, Richard M. Sherman (the other half of the Academy Award-winning Sherman Brothers songwriting team). How affable the brothers' relationship actually was, has been a subject of debate since the 2009 release of Walt Disney Pictures's The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story and the 2013 release of Walt Disney Pictures's Saving Mr. Banks. The making of both films is touched upon in the "My Time" sections. "My Time" also covers many of the other significant relationships that the writer had during his life including his marriage to his wife Joyce (of 48 years), his relationship with his parents, employers, collaborators, friends and children.

The title "My Time" is an allusion to the author's previous joint-autobiographical effort, Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond which was published in 1998. The three main sections of Walt's Time are "Walt's Time" (covering the Sherman Brothers' years of service to Walt Disney), "Al's Time" (a reference to the Sherman Brothers' father, Tin Pan Alley songwriter Al Sherman) and "Our Time" which refers to the twenty-five years that followed the death of the Sherman Brothers' two respective mentors (Walt Disney's death in 1966 and Al Sherman's death in 1973) and the publication of the book (Walt's Time) in 1998.

In Moose: Chapters From My Life, the header, "My Time" refers to Robert Sherman's life post-"Walt's Time", post "Al's Time" and post-"Our Time". Although the four sections cover Sherman's entire life, the meaning of the "My Time" sub-chapters is revealed through the fourth and final section, and only readily apparent provided the reader is already familiar with the aforementioned sections of Walt's Time. The fourth sub-chapter illustrates Sherman's zeal for life despite the many losses he suffered. Also implied is the author's desire to live his life on his own terms, a theme consistent throughout the book as a whole. "My Time" (part 4) covers Sherman's life experiences during the fourteen years between the publication of Walt's Time and the completion of Moose (1998-2012).

Critical acclaim

Saving Mr. Banks meets Moose

In 2010, mutual acquaintances of Moose editor, Robert J. Sherman, and Saving Mr. Banks producer Alison Owen (Ruby Films) arranged a meeting in London. (Owen's associate, Josh Davis, represented Owen at the meeting.) Excerpts from an early version of the Kelly Marcel/Sue Smith screenplay were given to Sherman to bring to his father, Robert B. Sherman, for his review. (The scenes given to Sherman were ones which specifically featured the Sherman Brothers as characters. After reviewing the script sides, Robert B. Sherman agreed to provide an advance copy of the chapter in Moose which specifically dealt with the lead up to and making of Walt Disney's film Mary Poppins. The chapter was entitled, "'Tween Pavement and Stars".[13] In exchange for their help, Owen agreed to list the book and author in the final credits of the film. This was the only compensation the Robert Shermans received. In the summer of 2012, a few months after Robert B. Sherman died, Robert J. Sherman (serving at that point in the capacity of "Trustee" of the Robert B. Sherman Estate) met again with the Saving Mr. Banks creatives including producer Alison Owen, director John Hancock and writer Kelly Marcel. A few days prior to the meeting, Sherman had been given a revised version of the full script. (Principal photography was to commence in two weeks' time.) Elements of the Moose excerpt had been incorporated into the new script. One important contribution is apparent in the scene in between Tom Hanks (as "Walt Disney") and Emma Thompson (as "Pamela Travers") during which Disney derides Travers for insisting that there is "No Red In London". Although the characters speaking the dialogue are different than those portrayed in the book, the dialogue is nearly identical.[14] About the "No Red In London" sequence, scriptwriter Kelly Marcel later blogged, "Anything that shocked me and surprised me went in, because that's how you make drama, you know? I think the one that freaked me out the most, that I could not believe, was that she wouldn't allow the color red to be in the film."[15]

British Book Launch – A Spoonful of Sherman

On January 6, 2014, Moose editor, Robert J. Sherman produced, wrote and emceed a two night cabaret at the St. James Theatre in London entitled A Spoonful of Sherman.[16] The event marked the official launch of his father's (posthumously released) autobiography: Moose: Chapters From My Life. After performances, Sherman participated in a book signing. The show was billed as "A Celebration of the Life, Times and Songs of Robert B. Sherman" and was extremely well received by the crowd and the critics alike. The cast consisted of four rising West End theatre stars including Charlotte Wakefield, Emma Williams, Stuart Matthew Price and Greg Castiglioni. Musical Direction was by Colin Billing and the show was directed by Stewart Nicholls.[17] The show was produced by MusicWorld (UK). Joanne Benjamin and Clive Chenery of The Entertainment Business were general managers, James Albrecht of St. James Theatre Productions running front of house.

A Spoonful of Sherman received outstanding notices, garnering four stars from Clive Davis of the London Times[18] as well as four and five star reviews from dozens of other papers and online reviewers.[19][20][21] The show covered ninety years of Sherman songwriting (including material written by the Sherman Brothers' father, Al Sherman (who first started writing music in the early 1920s.) Songs written by the younger Robert Sherman were also included in the show as well) but the focus of the evening was the music and lyrics of Robert B. Sherman and the Sherman Brothers. "In deciding which songs to select, particular emphasis was put on material that would propel the narrative of Robert B. Sherman's life forward for the audience. My narration would then fill in the gaps. Of course almost all of the famous stuff makes it in. Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Winnie the Pooh, The Jungle Book and "It's A Small World (After All)" are all represented, but I'm particularly pleased that we were able to include some unexpected gems in the mix as well."[22] A Spoonful of Sherman was so successful in its own right, that the show was brought back a second time in 2014.[23] In 2015 an original cast recording was released both digitally and on CD by SimG Records.[24] In 2017 a pared down version of the show returned to London and it was announced in December 2017 that the show will be embarking on its first UK/Ireland tour in 2018.[25]

Publishing details

A First Edition of Moose: Chapters From My Life was published by AuthorHouse (a Penguin Random House Company[4]) in November 2013 (paperback, ISBN 978-1-4918-8366-2). In December 2013 it was published (hardcover, ISBN 1-4918-8381-2). It is also available electronically on Amazon Kindle. In October 2016 the unabridged audiobook version of the book was released by Orchard Hill Press (Audible Audiobooks, ASIN B01M10102G) with Robert J. Sherman reading the text, the total running time clocked at 11 hours, 43 minutes.[26]


  1. ^ Sherman, Robert B., Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond[1]
  2. ^ "Robert B. Sherman – Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Sherman, "About Moose" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. xi.
  4. ^ a b Owen, Laura "Penguin Buys Self Publishing Service Author Solutions for 116m", July 19, 2012
  5. ^ a b Sherman, "About Moose" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. xiii.
  6. ^ "Moose The Story of a Phenomenon". AuthorHouse Author Spotlight. February 1, 2014.
  7. ^ "Saving Mr. Banks - Credits". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  8. ^ Shubow, Charles (December 19, 2014). "Deathtrap at Everyman Theatre - Ho Ho Ho...A Whodunit for the Holidays!".
  9. ^ a b Mice Chat. "Mousetalgia 273: Robert Sherman" Mice Chat, January 13, 2014
  10. ^ Callaway, Tim. "Robbie Sherman Talks About Robert Sherman and the Sherman Brothers in the MCL". The Mouse Castle Lounge. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  11. ^ "Songs, Music, Films, Laughter and Tears". Publishing Today Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  12. ^ "Songwriting with Walt: Behind-the-Scenes of Disney Classics in 'Moose'". 27 January 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  13. ^ Sherman, "Tween Pavement and Stars" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. 353-398
  14. ^ Sherman, "Tween Pavement and Stars" ("No Red In London") in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. 372-375
  15. ^ Sciretta, Peter (13 December 2013). "Interview: Kelly Marcel On Writing 'Saving Mr. Banks'". SlashFilm. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  16. ^ Lawson, Rhiannon (April 26, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman (St James Theatre)".
  17. ^ "St James Theatre - Events: A Spoonful of Sherman".
  18. ^ Davis, Clive. "A Spoonful of Sherman at the St. James Theatre, SW1" The Times, January 15, 2014
  19. ^ Shenton, Mark. "A Spoonful of Sherman" The Stage, April 22, 2014
  20. ^ Honoré, Patrick. "A Spoonful of Sherman – St James Studio Theatre" Musical Theatre Review, January 19, 2014
  21. ^ Anderson, Gemma (April 21, 2014). "Review: A Spoonful of Sherman, St James Theatre".
  22. ^ Robert J. Sherman comments on "A Spoonful of Sherman", accessed August 1, 2015
  23. ^ Lawson, Rhiannon (April 26, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman (St James Theatre)".
  24. ^ "SimG Records: A Spoonful of Sherman: Original Cast Recording". Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  25. ^ BWW News Desk (December 20, 2017). "Sherman Brothers Musical to Tour UK". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Moose Audible Audiobook". Retrieved October 9, 2016.