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.