Pop up books….literature or art?

A little known fact about our Campus Center Library,  we own a small collection of  pop up books.  Teachers may request these items to propose a theme in their lesson.  Due to their fragile nature,  these special books do not circulate to the general ‘pop’ulation.

I often find these books to be a curiosity.  While they do promote literacy and excitement about reading for our children,  I also marvel at the engineering and creative thought which has executed each item.  My current favorite is the Chronicles of Narnia……my favorite page is the forest scene, as Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund exit the rear of the wardrobe closet into a magic snowy world of Narnia.  The  branches come alive, sparkling with glittering snow.  A separate tab can be gently  pulled to reveal the menacing Ice Queen and her coach.

How could a child’s  interest not be captivated by such art work?

As a librarian, I am always promoting a book of one type or another to our children…highlighting  the adventures of the main character or the surreal setting.  The written word allows us to use our imagination and deductive reasoning skills. However, as part of my library training at the University of Alberta,  library students were required to make paper, then use a Gutenberg-type setting machine to gain a better understanding of the historical manufacturing of a book.  The amount of work which goes  into the latest copy of  James Patterson’s new novel, or the much anticiapted  sequel to Eragon is astouting,  despite  the mass machine manufacturing which happens today.

Roberts Sabuda is a current  celebrity in the world of pop up books. A graduate of  Pratt Art Academy in Chicago, Il,  Sabuda has taken a love of paper cutting and origami  to the level of an art form. His latest book to hit the marketin November 2008  is  “Peter Pan”. Who could resist the joy of Peter Pan, off for an adventure, defending his honor, and seizing life as only a boy can?   Sabuda creates Peter’s world for the reader to leap into: Tinkerbell flies, pirates pop, and ships spring up with masts that sway in the breeze. For more information, go to www.robertsaduba.com

A recent acquisition in our CCL collection, (and a source of great excitment for me) is a pop up version of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green gables.  This slender pop up book, fastens with a black ribbon, allowing the user to visualise the  layout of Anne’s famous Prince Edward Island home. As many know, Anne of Green Gables is  one of Sarah Potwin’s favorite reads,  as well as  a cultural piece of my homeland.

Pop up books, when handled in a kind and gentle manner, are excellent holiday gifts and spur many children onto the discovery of reading.  Making pop up images can be seen as an artform .  I would invite all to check out  The Pocket Paper Engineer: how to make pop ups step-by-step  (Barton) volume in our library.