Best pop-ups of 2006
If anything can tear kids away from their battery-operated gadgets during the holidays and for months afterward, it's the explosion of text and imagery found in Matthew Reinhart's pop-up take on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Each elaborate spread a herd of elephants, a lunging tiger, ruins of the Lost City is as complex as a stage set and the tribe of monkeys perched on layers of rocks is worthy of a Busby Berkeley production. Even the mini pop-ups found on each page are intricate expressions of movement and action.
KNIGHTS OF YORE
Children who can't get enough of knights and castles will probably want to sleep with their copy of Castle: Medieval Days and Knights. Created under the auspices of the Sabuda and Reinhart studio by writer and paper engineer Kyle Olmon and illustrator Tracy Sabin, Castle is packed with informative text about life inside the castle walls, including health care (let's just say you wouldn't want to get sick or injured during the Middle Ages), meals, contemporary occupations and sanitation (rudimentary, my dear). The pop-ups include a large castle (along with a smaller aerial view), a shiny suit of armor that unfolds with the stiff movement of the spellbound pieces in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a well-appointed three-section banquet table and a mini catapult (it really works!).
THE KING'S CASTLE
Fast-forward a few centuries, cross the Atlantic, trade hanging banners and cold stone floors for lush shag carpet and wood paneling and you're at Graceland. As you'll learn in Graceland: An Interactive Pop-Up Tour, the house that Elvis bought in 1957 was built in 1939, named after the daughter of the original owner and designated a National Historic Landmark earlier this year. But Elvis had the joint re-done in the 1970s and all the resulting kitsch is on display in this super-entertaining book. The tour begins with a pop-up of a pink Cadillac parked outside the mansion and concludes at Elvis' grave. In between, you can peek into the kitchen's pine cabinets and Harvest Gold fridge to check for the King's favorites (there's the peanut butter and the bananas are on the counter); flip through a sample of Elvis' eclectic LP collection and see what's showing on the big screen in the TV room; and be dazzled by the sparkly jumpsuits displayed on the tiered Awards Exhibit. Fabulous pop-ups aside, writer and paper engineer Chuck Murphy includes lots of information about Elvis' life, recording career and love for his home and family. Seal Graceland in a plastic cover and you're all set for the holidays or the King's January birthday.
Last year, Bugs in a Box series creator David A. Carter's One Red Dot became the darling of design cognoscenti with its stunning combination of treasure hunt and sculptural pop-up forms. Now, Carter leads readers through the alphabet in search of the elusive Blue 2. From a pop-up pyramid of letters and numbers to a set of swirling spirals reminiscent of the opening credits of Charade to a suspended mobile, Carter employs one clever trick after another in this book sure to appeal to young and old.
A DOLL'S LIFE
"I never get what I really want," Lucy tells Charlie Brown near the end of the Peanuts holiday classic. For little girls with a similar yen for real estate, there's Robyn Johnson's The Enchanted Doll's House. Ostensibly the secret life of a collection of dolls who live in an assortment of houses, the book is also a trip through various eras, each explored through domestic architecture, clothing, customs and etiquette, and featuring letters to pull out of envelopes, and armoires and chests to open. The spectacular pop-out houses include a cross-timbered English Tudor and an 18th-century French townhouse with mansard roof, wrought-iron railings (and, of course, French doors). Readers peer in through windows for enticing views of upstairs and downstairs rooms full of activity. Even better, the front elevation of each house opens to allow readers inside. With frosted flocking and a golden tassel on the cover, this is an enchanting book from start to finish.
TIS THE SEASON
Robert Sabuda celebrates the 10th anniversary of his holiday classic with The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition. Surrounded by the presents revealed on previous pages, the expanding, twinkling Christmas tree on the colorful new final spread rivals the one Clara encounters in The Nutcracker. The revised book also has red velveteen accents throughout and comes with a pop-up ornament for your own tree, mantle (or office cubicle!).
If your original 12 Days of Christmas is still in pristine condition, you may want to settle for the stocking stuffer-sized Christmas, based on Robert Sabuda's popular The Christmas Alphabet. Each letter of Christmas is illustrated with a simple pop-up a cheery red one for the final s and as always, each element casts an intriguing silhouette.