Monday 21 January 2008

Popping up all over

Rediscovering my lovely Gladys Peto's Bedtime Stories book the other day reminded me of another of my mother’s books from the early 1930s which I adored as a child. A bit of rummaging this evening and I found it and here it is – Bookano Stories No.2 by S. Louis Giraud – ‘With Pictures That Spring Up in Model Form’.

I really couldn’t say how many hours I spent devouring the delights inside this book between the ages of 5 and 10 - every single page seems deeply familiar now that I have turned them over once more. Now I've located it, I really must share it with my younger daughter tomorrow - I don't think she's ever seen inside it!

The stories are strange and intriguing - some written in terrible rhyming doggerel, and others dreadfully politically incorrect by today’s standards. There are brilliantly coloured, detailed endpapers in which it is possible to immerse oneself for ages – well, it's possible when one is only 5, anyway!

But it's the pop-ups which are, of course, the truly captivating thing about Bookano Stories. And even in the 1960s, this book, from three decades earlier, made other pop-up books look decidedly bland and uninteresting. They certainly couldn't transport me into other worlds like this one always did.

You can read more about the pioneering work of Giraud here , and there’s a fascinating page about the Bookano series on the University of Virginia website from an exhibition of the history of pop-up books shown there in 2000 – there’s a wealth of other wonderful stuff about pop-ups if you browse the selection on the left of the page.

Perhaps the most feted contemporary exponent of the mass-produced pop-up book (as opposed to the one-off or limited edition hand-made kind, of which more on another post someday soon), is Robert Sabuda (explore his website here ). Here’s a film in which Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart talk about their collaborative work on some of their best-known books (it's quite long and the intro is in French, but don’t worry, the interview is in English and it's fascinating stuff!)

And for a very different take on the pop-up book theme, I’ll leave you with this! (I’m indebted to Susan at Green Chair Press for the link.) Enjoy!

1 comment:

monix said...

What a fantastic book, J. The colours are so vibrant and the pop-up scenes seem to be far more imaginative than the books from the 1970s and '80s that I bought for my children. I can't wait for your next post on the subject.