Originally for adults, examples of three dimensional or movable books date back to the 13th century. Since that time, this type of book has been used to beautifully illustrate fiction stories and serve as a learning tool initially for adults and then for children. They are more expensive to produce and require specialised skills so there are few examples until the Bookano series was produced from 1929 for 20 years. These have lovely, colourful three dimensional pop ups which can be viewed from several angles. Bookano books (the name comes from Meccano which was also becoming popular at this time) are very collectible.
Lothar Meggendorfer, a German, is famous for his movable books. He originally created them for his son and went on to create over 200 from the middle of the 19th Century. The pop up mechanisms and movable parts in his books are some of the most complex ever created. They have been so admired that there is a bi-annual Meggendorfer Prize awarded for outstanding paper engineering to the artist who has produced the most outstanding commercially published pop-up or movable book.
I love this format and I used to love sharing them with my son and now my grandson. The familiarity of an often read book is enhanced by the addition of interactive pop ups and children love to show how they can operate them. I particularly like the non-fiction variety. They can illustrate quite complex topics really well. What child can resist “Nature's Deadly Creatures” as the cobra pops up and the full size scorpion rises up from the page. The “Even More Amazing Science” pop up book is packed with practical interactive demonstrations covering the theory of light, sound and computing. I love “Ancient Egypt” with its pop ups, mask and games which help to bring the subject alive. Who knows what these books are inspiring in our young readers.
As for me I am hoping that soon someone will create a pop up book that will explain gravitational waves!!
Contributed by Nicky