Book Beat

Pop-Ups Come with Strings Attached

by Frank Lipsius

Having been a technological marvel of its day, the Titanic deserves to be featured as a pop-up book to show off the newest tech feature in pop-ups — strings.

In Titanic by Martin Jenkins and Brian Sanders (Candlewick, $29.99), a 21/2-foot-long Titanic sails majestically in a calm sea, thanks to multiple folds that allow it to be so long, and to the strings that help hold it upright and show its maximum length when taut.

The book consists of the titantically impressive fold-out; six miniature pop-ups of the boat’s elegant features, including the grand staircase, palm court and state room; and side pockets with a paperback that has a timeline of the disaster, names and photos of first-class passengers and other details.

Those features, along with a replica ticket, menu and poster of crew and passengers, make an impressive tribute to Leonardo DiCaprio’s ability to inspire interest in the original doomed ship.
Even more impressive is the fact that this Christmas brings two more Titanic pop-up books. Titanic by Jim Pipe (Firefly, $19.95) has the premise that a journalist is aboard to record the first voyage, making it very informative about all aspects of the ship. This book includes replicas of small artifacts like menus, tickets and the New York Times front page account of the disaster.

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams (Orchard, $18.99) is seen through the eyes of a young boy, so the information is less im-pressive, but there are several pop-ups, including a two-foot-long boat and a multi-tiered grand staircase. The cover has a shiny silver porthole with a view of the ship.

More Strings
The full scope of the new string technology is on display in How Many: Spectacular Paper Sculptures by Ron van der Meer (Robin Corey Books, $24.99), which is not only great fun to watch as the lattice-work sculpture, bridge-like suspension, and various glitzy sculptures jump off the pages, but also for the excuse to look deeper to count all the objects brought to life when the pages open.

David A. Carter, author of the imaginative One Dot returns with 600 Black Spots (Little Simon, $19.99), where an impressive fan, Calder-like sculptures and boxes inside boxes each have the number of spots identified though they’re not always easy to count. As the subtitle says, it’s “a pop-up book for children of all ages.”

Moby Dick: A Pop-Up Book by Sam Ita (Sterling, $24.95) shows how the strings enhance nautical themes in a cartoonishly illustrated version that enlivens the novel with sail boats, periscopes and ships floating alarmingly in treacherous waters.

Comics and Films
Comic books and Star Wars trans-lated into pop-ups break no new ground in technology, but they certainly add new dimensions to their originals.

In The All-New All-Different X-Men Pop-Up, the red plastic x-ray vision jumps off the page and African goddess Storm flies in front of the scene. In that book and Amazing Spider-Man Pop-Up (Candlewick, $24.99 each), characters’ names pop up to add to the immediacy that the genre brings to the original comics.

Matthew Reinhart’s Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy! (Orchard, $32.99) shows that a pop-up book can add something to movies, especially when it has large mechanical objects such as the Millennium Falcon tramp freighter and many, many smaller reproductions.

Reinhart works with Robert Sabuda to call forth fantastical figures in Mega-Beasts (Candlewick, $27.99). Large central beasts surrounded by equally impressive little ones fill the pages.

Strictly for girls, Pixie Hollow Pop-Up (Disney, $19.99) features pastel-colored pixie scenes and a romantic story.

For boys, Chewy, Gooey, Rumble, Plop by Steve Alton and Nick Sharratt (Dial, $17.99) has a realistic plastic tongue with all its little dots on the cover. The tongue introduces a suitably disgusting but imaginative account of the digestive track, including burps (air that accompanies every mouthful of food), a three-dimensional large intestine and bowel leading to the toilet bowl and a side story on the adventures of Sewerman.

That’s a far cry from Leonardo DiCaprio, but just as likely to end up in the ocean somewhere.

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.