Pop-Up Paris, by Andy Mansfield; Lonely Planet Kids, $9.99, 8 pages, ages 3-6.
When readers can’t travel, well-crafted pop-ups offer wonderful opportunities to learn about the world around them. Lonely Planet Kids, an imprint of parent company Lonely Planet, recently launched three children’s pop-up books to coincide with its line of family-friendly tour guides and on-the-go activity books.
The first in the series, Pop-Up Paris, is a charming introduction to six must-see, kid-friendly sites in the City of Light, from the Pompidou Center to a tower of sugary macarons. Short on textual detail, the book is clearly geared towards a pre-k through first grade readership, providing a snippet of information to inspire children to learn more about the topic at hand. Hyper-pigmented illustrations, bordering on neon, are hip without pretense. In short, this is a book that knows it’s fun.
Easy to tote, easy to read, the Lonely Planet Kids Pop-Ups series has found a way to hook young explorers on the richness of traveling, even from the comfort of home.
Check out a 30-second video highlighting all three titles here.
The Dragon & the Knight: A Pop-up Misadventure,by Robert Sabuda; Little Simon, $29.99, 22 pages, ages 5-up.
Master paper engineer Robert Sabuda has created another book sculpture for pop-up enthusiasts of all ages. In this volume of fractured fairytales, a brave (if slightly goofy) knight pursues a maligned and misunderstood dragon. The duo escape from their story and onto the pages of other fairytales, ranging from Aladdin to Cinderella. The escapeeswreak havoc on each tale they visit, while each page reveals a more complex and imaginative three-dimensional creation than the last. While there is text on each page, it’s not really here to be read. Rather, it demonstrates the ruckus caused by the intruders – fairytales are obscured by towering structures of fire-breathing dragons, and even some of the characters pop-up sheathed in outfits made of words. (See Cinderella’s dress and Aladdin’s flying carpet.) Sabuda paper art books makes stunning gifts, but they are delicate – with so many intricate folds and pleats, very young readers should be supervised, lest older readers wish to spend hours carefully refolding dragon tails and towers. This tour de force will make an excellent addition to any collection on paper engineering.
Pop-up New York, by Jennie Maizels, Candlewick Press; $19.99, 12 pages, all ages.
Forget the ubiquitous I LOVE NY tee shirts because there’s a better way to show your love for the Big Apple that also makes a great holiday gift; Jennie Maizels’ latest oversize pop-up book dedicated to New York. (London was the object of her previous pop-up ode to urban life.) Here readers are treated to marvelous paper engineering showcasing many of the places that make New York unique, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, and the High Line. Each oversize page is filled with fact-filled flaps for further exploration. Where many pop-up books of this size and scope can cost close to thirty dollars, Pop-up New York delivers great value as a statement-making present and can be found for less than $20. If you can’t make it to New York this holiday season, bring it home instead – there’s no place like it.
The arrival of crisp weather and bright colors also heralds the arrival of vibrant pop-up books.Below are two standout selections.
“One Spotted Giraffe,” by Petr Horácek; Candlewick Press, $15.99, 20 pages, ages 2 and up.
Learning to count becomes an exciting trip into the wild in the latest book by veteran illustrator Petr Horácek (“Beep Beep”; “Silly Suzy Goose”). This gorgeous gift of color and texture is delightful and charming.Children will adore pointing out the animals – from “One spotted giraffe,” to "Ten swimming fish.“ Meanwhile, a fold-over flap awaits on each page, offering a corresponding furry, spotted, or scaly three-dimensional numeral. Horácek’s boldly pigmented mixed-media illustrations on white background bring young readers focus directly to the whimsical creatures and numbers.
“Cinderella; a Three-Dimensional Fairy-Tale Theater,” by Jane Ray; Candlewick Press,$19.99, 12 pages, ages 4 and up.
Author-illustrator Jane Ray creates a whimsical fairytale theater similar to her 2007 three-dimensional adaptation of “Snow White”.Layered cut-paper artwork tells the classic story of the underappreciated diamond in the rough. The sumptuous backgrounds, ornate decoration and biracial characters seem to conjure a magical port city in the American South. (I’d like to think it may be New Orleans.) Budding engineers might want to disassemble the book to figure out how all the pieces work together.As the title suggests, the pages evoke theater sets, and the side panels hiding the text resemble stage curtains. “Cinderella” would be a beautiful and thoughtful gift for the serious pop-up collector and fairytale aficionado.