Archive for May, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Max’s Machines

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I remember years ago at a Movable Book Society conference where I was checking out amazing pop-up books on dealer’s tables and an older collector ambled by and whispered, ‘If you think that is good, you should check out Max’s Machines, it’s the best pop-up book ever.’  Hyperbole or not, when someone hints about a great pop-up then I quickly look into it.  Turns out the book costs a few quid so it took awhile for me to get my grubby mitts on a copy.  It was worth it.

Max’s Machines was created by Willy Bullock in 1999 for Scholastic in the U.K, and right there on the cover boasts ‘the best pop-up book – ever’.  (Seems like British paper engineers were always trying to one up each other since Richard Scarry released this book a year earlier.)  Bullock creates three giant pop-ups in this five spread oversized book.  First up is an intricate racecar that is lifted high above the page with the pull of a tab.  Next is a giant dump truck that tips its load of dirt at the yank of a lever.  And for the finale, our hapless hero Max is ejected from his supersonic jet when the tab is pulled.

Nowadays, Tim “Willy” Bullock has turned his attention to creating clever and complicated paper automata.  He recently released his fun ‘Rude Moose’ kit which can be found on his cool4cats website.  I can’t wait to see what is next.

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Carter Cards

Monday, May 16th, 2011


David A. Carter is no stranger to this blog. I have tremendous respect for the man and he is a delight to be around. The studio recently came across an assortment of his pop-up cards and they were quickly snatched up. These 5” x 6” cards were designed in 2008 and published by Clarkson Potter (better known for their cookbooks and lifestyle titles) and produced by Millenium in China. I believe there are eight different designs with names like: Dots & Spots, Curlycue, Blossoms, Wave, Kaboom, Clicker, Paisley and Twister. Many of the compositions will be familiar to fans that followed the One Red Dot series. Each set contains a single design in four different colors printed on eight cards with colored envelopes. The cards have a universal appeal and are wordless, which allow the pop-ups to be used in a variety of occasions. The packaging mentions that the designs are influenced by the works of Matisse, Calder and Gehry among others and remember to pester him more about some of the hidden meanings and inspiration in his work. It also notes that David has authored over 70 pop-up books, so it looks like I have to start looking into more of his back catalog and find some of his earlier works, which may show up on this blog in short order.

~Kyle

Vintage Movable Review: Black Cat, White Cat

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Today we are looking at a pop-up book of opposites.  Black Cat, White Cat was created by Chuck Murphy in 1998.  (It should not be confused with the excellent Yugoslavian adult comedy that came out the same year.)  This smaller format, five spread book was published by Simon & Schuster as a follow up to his successful series that includes One to Ten and Color Surprises.  Chuck Murphy is one of most solid paper engineers ever to lay scissors to paper and his work is among the first I turned to when I was teaching myself about pop-ups.  He has a very easy and distinctive style, with high contrast graphics that compliment the rhyming text.  I always get the feeling that his books are all very well thought out with careful attention paid to his children audience.  You can read more about Chuck’s ideas from an older interview with Robert Sabuda and learn about his background from a short biography found at Random House.

I’ll leave you with a short video of the finale in this book.  Still pictures just would not suffice.  Enjoy!

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Pop-up Events

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Matthew Reinhart had a great time this past Saturday at Books of Wonder sharing his new Dragons & Monsters pop-up book and signing copies along side prestigious picture book illustrators Leo & Diane Dillon.  If you missed the event, you can still stop by the bookstore and see the paper dragon window display and pick up an autographed book.

And if you are in the D.C. area tomorrow be sure to catch the final talk in a series of pop-up lectures when Bruce Foster will talk about “The Magic and Math of Harry Potter, The Pop-Up Book” at noon in the Carmichael Auditorium at the National Museum of American History.

~Kyle

Vintage Movable Review: Six Brave Explorers

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I am a huge fan of Kees Moerbeek.  This Dutch designer has made dozens of books over the years and his newest title, Aesop’s Fables releases in October.  But today, we are looking at one of my favorite pop-up books he created with his wife Carla Dijs.  Six Brave Explorers was produced by Intervisual for Price Stern Sloan in 1988.  It was printed and bound at Carvajal in Columbia.  I was once told that during the design of this book, Kees and Carla were told that the book was too expensive so they had to cut some corners.  And cut they did.  This six-spread book has a unique triangular format that sliced their paper usage nearly in half.  What a creative idea!

The format of this counting book is based off the “Ten Little Indians” children rhyme and Kees is not afraid to interject a little death and colonialism in the pages.  The simple central pop-ups stand tall over the main characters and an easy flow is established throughout the book.  This book was such a success that two other titles: Four Courageous Climbers and Oh, No Santa soon followed.  Let’s hope that many more books spring from the mind of Kees Moerbeek.

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Adie Pena Visits

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

A surprise guest dropped by the studio last Friday after a long delayed flight from Manila, Philippines.  Pop-up collector and advertising guru, Adie Pena was in New York for one of his biennial visits to the States.  It had been years since we last met at the Movable Book Society conference in Washington D.C. and I was eager to hear what Adie has been up to.  It looks like he is busier than ever as teaching three advertising courses at the De La Salle -College of Saint Benilde, as well as helping with a local theater production that involves a dress that unfolds over the entire stage as figures appear like pop-up elements.

Adie has been collecting pop-up books and movable advertising for over 18 years and is known as one tough critic of paper engineering but we were able to get a some smiles out of him with a few sneak peeks of our upcoming projects like Puppies and Rescue.  We hope that he enjoyed the city during the wonderful weather this weekend and his return flight was smooth enough for him to concentrate on his other passion, anagrams.

~Kyle