Archive for February, 2011

Whats Popped Up: Childrens Literary Salon

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I love going to the library and peruse shelf after shelf of treasured (and sometimes forgotten) books.  And few libraries are as impressive as the main branch of the New York Public Library.  In this increasingly digital age, I am pleased to see that the library can continue to be a focal point for research and community involvement.

To that end, I am pleased to participate in this month’s Children’s Literature Salon at Children’s Center in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street. The Children’s Literary Salon is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature.   Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings.   The Literary Salon provides a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation.   This program is for adults only and is a first come, first seated event.

The clever paper engineer, Sam Ita will be sharing the microphone with me as we discuss all things pop-up.  Elizabeth Bird will make sure we don’t stray too far off topic and moderate the informal hour-long.  So, if you are in Manhattan this Saturday, March 5th, please join us in room 84.  The event will begin at 2 pm and you can find directions to the event here.


Vintage Movable Review: Space Shuttle Action Book

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Vic Duppa-Whyte was out of this world.  He was a gifted paper engineer in England that created some of the most inventive pop-up designs in the 1980’s.  In fact, David Carter and other folks that worked with him through Intervisual Books noted that Vic’s creations were so advanced at the time that they could not be produced.  Luckily, there is a half dozen titles were released that bare his name.  All of them are amazing.  Today we check out the The Space Shuttle Action Book from 1983.  Published by Random House and produced by Carvajal in Columbia, this introduction to the space shuttle houses many inventive pop-ups.

The NASA space shuttle program had just begun when the book came out and Vic does a great job right out of the gate with creating the excitement of exploration of space. As we open the first page, one pulls a tab and the anticipation builds with a four second countdown before the rockets fire and the pop-up shuttle lifting off the page.  Another clever construction is a pop-up cockpit complete with functional joystick that changes the forward view as the shuttle tilts left or right with the aid of a single black thread.

The space shuttle program may be ending this year, due to soaring costs and privatized ventures, but this book will continue to send me to the moon for years to come.


What’s Popped Up: Magic Circus Tour

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Magic Circus Tour Video

Gérard Lo Monaco is a busy man.  We got a sneak peek at some of his new titles a month ago when the 3rd Salon took place in Paris.  I was eager to get my hands on his work and lo and behold we have a copy of The Magic Circus Tour before us today. The carousel book was released at the end of 2010 by the always inventive and playful Helium Editions in France. (The same folks who brought us Popville and 10 Little Penguins.)  The five-sectioned book depicts some fun and familiar scenes of the circus and employs a paper engineering twist by rotating some characters upon opening.  Check out the publisher’s blog for more photos and more information.

Besides being one of the artistic directors at Helium Editions, Lo Monaco is also a principal designer at Les Associés réunis, which designs colorful novelty and graphic books for children and adults.  And by the looks of things there are many more great titles to come.


Vintage Movable Review: Deering Mowers Movable

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Another simple wheel mechanism on display today comes from a fun advertisement for Deering brand mowers and binders. William Deering boasts of inventing “the most complete and perfect line of harvest machinery in the world.” The six-inch square promotional shows a genteel competitor offering to sell a front-geared binder to a farmer who curtly replies “No Siree, The Deering All-Steel Binder is the best. You may skedaddle.” Then with a flick of the wheel the salesman is booted in the keister before the family dog chases him off the property. Looks like Deering wasn’t pulling any punches (or kicks) when it came to promoting his new machines. The card is credited to the color chromolithography firm of Sackett, Wilhelm & Bertzig of New York and I date the card to about 1888, based on other newspaper advertisements. Now, I too must skedaddle.


What’s Popped Up: Brooke’s Broken Heart

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!  One of my favorite fine artists that work with pop-ups is Colette Fu.  She is known for her large scale pop-ups that deal with various themes like Chinese ethnic groups, food and consumerism and haunted locations.  In fact, she currently has an exhibition of her recent series “Haunted Philly” at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia until March 18th.

Last year, Colette travelled to California to collaborate with Duck Studios to create a series of charming pop-up inspired commercials for the Children’s Medical Center in Texas.  On February 5th the International Animated Film Society held the 38th Annual Annie Awards for excellence in animation. It was announced that “Brooke’s Broken Heart” won for best animated TV commercial.  Enjoy this heartwarming video today.


Vintage Movable Review: Valentine Chalkboard Girl

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I am a sucker for Valentine’s Day.  The declarations of love, the flowers, the candy, the cards.  There are many fine examples of pop-up and movable Valentine cards and love tokens.  One of my favorite examples is a design I received a few years ago that was created at the turn of the century in Germany.  A child stands facing a chalkboard and with the turn of the wheel they scrawl a message across the board.  As the viewer continues to turn the wheel along the edge of the card the child erases the words and then starts again.  A charmingly simple mechanism sharing a modest message – I love it.


Vintage Movable Review: Ha-Ha Farm

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

I learned about Carlyle Leech when I came across the 1943 release of the Hide and Seek Riddle Book a while back.  Carlyle was a children’s book creator that was most prolific in the 1940’s.  In 1944, he teamed up with his wife, Thirma, to create Ha-Ha Farm, which is advertised as an animated laughing animal book.  That is exactly what we get here.  I must confess that I purchased this more for the disarming illustrations than the mechanics.  The format is a tried and true pairing of rhyming verse and movable element.  In this case, a popular farm animal is caused to “laugh” at the swing of a single pivot rocker tab. I wish there was a sequel called Ha-Ha Safari, so I could see the hyena in action.  My favorite farm animal is the cow that rolls the whites of her eyes when uttering a jolly “Moo” as if she was reminded of the classic joke.  Q: “Why do cows wear bells?”  A: “Because their horns don’t work.”

Looks like new generations can get in on the fun because the Laughing Elephant published a reprint of the book in 2009.  No joke.