POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!! I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper. I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right waiting below to catch her.
About ten years ago, when I was the art docent in my daughter's class room, I bought the book How to Make Pop-Ups by Joan Irvine, which is now out of print. It was a fabulous book to use with kids and I am pleased to see that the simple techniques demonstrated are all here in POP-UP, as well as many more. From a parental perspective, the BEST thing about this already spectacular book is that, for kids of the right age and ability, it requires NO parental involvement! It doesn't even require PAPER, SCISSORS or GLUE! Everything you need is INSIDE THE BOOK!!! With How to Make Pop-Ups I had to supply the paper, pencils, crayons, glue and hope the kids brought the skill before we could get anything done. POP-UP really, really means it when it says "everything" in the title. Perforated pages hold all the punch-out pieces needed to create four different pop-up scenarios - a dragon, a castle, Frankenstein's lab and a jungle scene, with each one employing different and increasingly elaborate techniques as the book progresses. To top it off, the punch-out pieces, besides having tabs and slots to hold things together, are all self-adhesive, meaning that there is NO GLUE REQUIRED! Any child who can read and follow directions and is patient and dedicated can make these pop-ups easily then go on to make his or her own!
Above is a photo of the castle page with some of the punched-out pieces propped up and laying flat. Below is a view of the menu-like fold out instruction page that walks you through the process step-by-step. There is also an image of two "mini master class" tutorials. These are included with each scenario and, using techniques employed in the scenario, teach readers how to make something new and different using the skills they just learned, giving ideas for new projects.
Below are a few images from the instructions on creating the dragon, which is the first project in the book, and a picture of the completed project. Before I had even had a chance to open this book, my husband and six year old son got a hold of it and were tearing, punching and sticking while I had my back turned, in the time it took me to make dinner. I'm glad they did because it was a good example of just how easy this book is to use. And, like everything I review, having it kid tested first is always a plus.
As the author says at the start of the book, "Once you have learned the basic principles, your pop-ups can be as incredible as your imagination allows!" I definitely believe that!
New this year and along the same lines, The Toy Maker's Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself.
And, from the bargain section at Barnes & Noble you can purchase GIZMOS: Paper Machines that Really Work, by Rob Ives, which looks really cool.
Robe Ives is also the author of these other interesting paper engineering books!