08 November 2011

Pop-up books and paper engineering

When I was a kid I loved pop-up books. We didn't keep any of my childhood pop-up treasures, probably because the tabs had torn and bits no longer popped up. Now as an adult I'm collecting them in a new guise, starting with some amazing 'paper engineering' books by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.

I first came across the term 'paper engineering' after I bought a couple of little gift books by Robert Sabuda one Christmas. I gave Winter in White to my aunt, and kept Christmas! for myself (my aunt probably would've preferred a specifically Christmassy book, and I really wanted to keep Winter in White, but the corner of Christmas! was dinged so I couldn't give it as a gift).

These books, while small and much simpler than many of Sabuda's works, were far more sophisticated than the pop-up books of my childhood. Those 1970s books had tabs that you pulled down, to make an image pop up from the page, or pulled sideways, to make an image slide across the page.

Christmas! has a double-spread page for each letter in the word Christmas, including an elaborate Snowflake, Icicles hanging from a building's eaves, and a pull-along Toy horse. Winter in White has a twirling skater on a foil pond, a reindeer with ornaments dangling from its antlers, two doves tying a red ribbon, and other gorgeous moving images.

I was so taken with these that I looked for more examples of this kind of work, and thus discovered that there was such a thing as 'paper engineering'. Since then I've bought a pop-up alphabet book, ABC3-D, two books from the trilogy Encyclopedia Mythologica by Reinhart and Sabuda - Gods & Heroes, and Dragons & Monsters...

Maurice Sendak's first pop-up book, Mummy? (co-created with Arthur Yorinks and Matthew Reinhardt)

a book of dots - abstract art, really - 600 Black Dots by David A. Carter,

and Snow White by Jane Ray.

And in a stroke of good fortune, I won a copy of Matthew Reinhardt's brilliant Star Wars: A Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy in a competition run by Infinitas Bookshop.

Some photos I took of my copy of Dragons & Monsters:

and a video (taken with my digital still camera) of one section of Dragons & Monsters unfolding.


Sheep Rustler said...

They are amazing! Although aware these things exist I have never really looked at them. I do have some similar cards, though, boughtyears ago in England - we used some of them as cards (to close family members, who have kept them for years and have them on display!) and kept theothers are keepsakes.

greenspace said...

I have a set of Robert Sabuda Xmas cards, but I haven't sent any yet - only want to send them to people who'll appreciate them :-)