Monday, 9 March 2015

Pop-Up Worlds

Manville Fenn Wild animal stories a panorama picture book circa 1898

Pop up worlds in the form of mechanical books have been around since the 13th century but most were scholarly works intended for adults. Towards the end of the 18th century pop-up books for children began to appear. The very early pop-up books are now mostly beyond the reach of all but the deepest pockets, but you can still build a wonderful collection by concentrating on newer examples.

These are a few of my favourites; 


Sleeping Beauty Peepshow Book;

Pop up pages and a mobile to hang by a ribbon loop
First of this edition published in 1975. Five double page pop up pages that can be tied to make a star shape mobile to hang by a ribbon loop.  

A Pocketful of Posies by Roy Gerrard;

Selection of traditional nursery rhymes

A selection of traditional nursery rhymes with one pop-up posy at the very end.  Award winning artists Roy Gerrard provided the nostalgic Edwardian style illustrations. Published by Victor Gollancz in 1991.


New Little Prayers Pop-up book; 

New little prayers pop-up
Janet and Anne Graham Johnstone illustrated this little treasure of a book. Published by Dean in 1976.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett; 

Emily Gravett The rabbit problem
Follow the lives of two rabbits and their fast expanding brood as they handle a different seasonal challenge each month. A cold February turns into a wet April followed by a warm July and so on until the family of two gradually grows to be a family of two hundred and eighty eight! This extraordinary picture book is packed with gorgeous details and novelty elements, including a baby record book, a carrot recipe book and a surprise pop-up at the end. 

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

Puss in boots;


Charles Perrault Nicola Bayley Puss-in-boots

Charles Perrault first published his collection of classic French folk tales more than 300 years ago, included among them was the story of Puss In Boots. In this adaptation, the story has been retold by Christopher Logue with illustrations by Nicola Bayley. 1st edition pop-up book Published by Jonathan Cape Ltd in 1976.

In Puss and boots, a poor miller dies and leaves his youngest son nothing but a cat. The son is none too happy about it, either; Once I've eaten my cat and made a muff out of the fur, I'm sure to starve, he says. But what a legacy the bequeathed cat turns out to be! The cat in tall boots creates a new identity for the youngest son complete with fine clothes, fields of wheat, a castle stolen from an ogre, and in the end, the respect of the king and the hand of the king's daughter.   



The coming of Mammals and The Flight of the Pterosaurs;


Pop-up books the coming of mammals and The flight of the Pterosaurs
The coming of Mammals - 65 million years ago the last of the dinosaurs died out, and small mice like animals came creeping out of the forests. These were early mammals - and without the dinosaurs to fear, they soon began to grow and evolve into a great variety of creatures. This book shows some of the largest mammals of the past, all of them now extinct. Eight pop-ups, paper engineering by Keith Moseley.
The Flight of the Pterosaurs Pop-Up Book - Keith Moseley brings to life the mysterious flying creatures who ruled the skies when the dinosaurs ruled the earth.


Watch the nursery rhyme come to life



Little Boy Blue published in 1982. This one is not so much a pop-up more a press-out concertina style. 

Will you wake him? No, not I. For if I do he's sure to cry. Press out the figures, stand them up and watch the nursery rhyme come to life. 6 figures to press-out including little boy blue, the sheep in the meadow and the cow in the corn. 





It’s interesting to think these inexpensive little books could well be the antiques of the future. Thanks for looking, have a great week.


Update; several visitors to this blog have expressed surprise at the date of the earliest pop-up book. For anyone looking for more information, please visit A concise history of pop-up and movable books by Ann Montanaro.   It is not known who invented the first mechanical device in a book, but one of the earliest examples was produced in the 13th century by Catalan mystic and poet Ramon Llull of Majorca, who used a revolving disc or volvelle to illustrate his theories...more here

All the featured books are now sold, thank you for your interest.


Update July 2016: March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I do still blog here at March of Time Books and always appreciate your visit. 




48 comments:

  1. Barbara, Good afternoon,
    Another interesting read so well put together. I can quite believe the one about the rabbits being based on fact. Some years ago I bought a jigsaw book (Fairyland) thinking it might help with a project I had going at the time. Do you have knowledge of them, do they have a history?. Mine is dated 2005 and has four puzzles within. J

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    1. Hello John, I don’t know the history, but it would be an interesting area to research (thanks for the idea). I do know they were originally called Jig-Puz books, and I also know John Leng of London published one called My First Jig-Puz book in the 1920s or 30s. I know that because I had one in my stock, but it sold a few months ago. Barbara

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  2. I love a good pop-up book but had no idea they have been around so long. Your choices here are wonderful, though I am partial to the burst of rabbits in The Rabbit Problem. Ahh, it would be wonderful to come visit you and all your beautiful, intriguing books.

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    1. I’m a fan of Emily Gravett. She manages to fill every inch of every page with wonderful surprises! The rabbit problem is probably my favourite of her books but Meerkat and Wolf Won't Bite! are just as good.

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  3. I did have a pop-up book of my own which my long departed dog ate. It had Daleks and Ziber men. I loved it - briefly.

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    1. How sad Roger – I do hope your poor dog was OK? It must have been upsetting for you too of course. :-)

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    2. On that occasion it lived, just.

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  4. I didn't realise they were originally books for adults! I love The Rabbit Problem, I had that one out of the library (for myself)!

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    1. Hello Lindsay, it really is a super book and is only for sale because I have two copies. The other copy resides on 'my' shelf along with several others by Emily Gravett.Thanks for calling in, Barbara

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  5. Hello from book blogs. I saw the picture of the cute books and had to stop by. The books are beautiful but I've never seen a pop-up book. Love it.

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    1. Hello and welcome Mary, thank you for calling in. You will probably see pop-up books all over the place now you are aware of them. I hope you do because they are an absolute joy. Barbara.

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  6. I loved pop up books and so did my children. These are all delightful. :)

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    1. Thank you Darlene, I'm glad you enjoyed them. Barbara

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  7. Hello Barbara, these are absolutely delightful books. I have a vague recollection of seeing or reading popup books in school I think. Hmmm haven't come across many.
    Reading John Whitley's comments I realised I too have a jigsaw puzzle book called Fairyland which has six stories. I think I bought it to just to get inspiration for my projects. I just checked and found it was printed in 2006. I wonder if they are still printing them printing them. I have not seen many around.

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    1. Hello Shashi, I’ve not seen the jigsaw puzzle books in the shops but there are some online. I’ve also found other books in the same series; one is called Jigsaw Book – Forest Fairies and another Jigsaw Book – Castles. It looks as though they were published during 2005/2006 and have not been republished yet, not to say they won't be in a year or two. There are quite a few available on ABEbooks. Barbara.

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  8. Good evening, Barbara! I NEED THAT BOOK: The Rabbit Problem! That is darling! And I had no idea that mechanical books have been around since the 13th century? Storytelling has been put into so many mediums over the ages; how important this is to keep us moving and growing. And as always, your choices are supreme with the colorful and innocent images of childhood.

    I hope you are well? We are fine, finally having some warm weather. But all seasons are perfect to curl up to any book.

    Much love to you, Barbara! Anita

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    1. Hello, my sweet friend, thank you for coming to visit me again. We are both well, enjoying the sunshine and the promise of spring. I’m so glad you are getting some warm weather at last. Keep curling up with those books and keep warm! Much love Barbara

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  9. When my son was small, he had all manner of pop-up books, as well as "lift the flap" and "pull here" - type books. Not to mention the musical books that drove me mad! I think they still have a fascination for children, despite the fact that so many children look at stories on iPads and tablets these days. There's still a difference between on-screen 3D and something virtually popping up for real before your eyes!

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    1. Hello Sue, my son had them too, but I don’t think the musical ones were around then – or if they were I’ve forgotten. He had two favourites – Haunted house by Jan Pienkowski and Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs. I have a real fondness for both because they remind me of his boyhood.
      My grandson is always telling me how on-screen graphics are amazing now, but for me, a physical book will always win.

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  10. Oh how I loved these kind of books when I was a girl. Thank you for yet another wonderfully nostalgic post.

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    1. Hi Tracy, thanks so much for coming over and taking a look. Barbara.

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  11. I loved these pop ups when I was a child. Thanks for the post.

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    1. You are most welcome, thanks for calling in, Barbara

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  12. It's been so long since I've read a pop-up book. I didn't read many as a child, actually. I was more into the Golden Books!

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I wasn’t aware of Golden Books until I was older so it’s only now that I’ve come to appreciate them. I don’t think many of them made it to the UK in the 1950s probably because we were all reading Ladybird Books. Thanks for your visit.

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  13. What I wouldn't give to get my hands on or even just see a thirteenth-century pop up book! I too am a fan of pop-ups for kids too, especially ones that have an added game or interactive component. I am forever buying them for my niece!

    Thanks for stopping by again and for the follow on Twitter. If you in the mood to do more RAKs consider applying to become "official" - it's soooo very simple and you don't have to do all of the things they suggest :)

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    1. Me too Brandy, mind you, it would take some careful handling!

      I’ve been thinking about RAKs, but I’m not sure I have the time to properly commit so I will carry on doing what I’m doing. It is interesting though I will certainly keep it in mind. Barbara.

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  14. Okay- you aren't allowed to show so many beautiful books at once because it sends my brain into a tizzy! Love these books! I have always been a fan of pop up books and these are amazing. I can't decide which is my favorite. Such wonderful details! I think The Rabbit Problem is one I have to check out. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hello Stephanie, I guarantee The Rabbit Problem would send your brain into a double tizzy – it’s incredible and beautiful too. Thanks for calling in, Barbara.

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  15. 13th Century ! That much back !!
    I was completely oblivious to this fact Barbara and thank you for bringing it to my notice.I'll treat this phenomenon as a heritage one now (chuckling)
    Like everybody, I too love a good Pop-up book but I am not sure if I would be able to concentrate on my studies if my scholarly books have to be the pop up ones ;)
    Loved all which are featured here :)
    wishes to the readers and the collector :)

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    1. I kind of agree with you kokila, although pop up books might help some facts to stick. When I was studying for my accountancy exams I used all kinds of visual aids - stickers on the fridge, pictures on the doors and so on, then when I wanted to recall a fact I visualised what was on a particular door. It worked for me. :-)

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  16. PS . I have nominated you for 'The Sisterhood Of Blogging' Award here -
    http://sunshineandblueclouds.blogspot.in/2015/03/love-from-baseland-aligarh.html
    hope you would enjoy this sisterhood :)

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    1. Thank you Kokila, that is really sweet of you. I will get onto in the next week or so. Barbara

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  17. These are great! I can't get over the one from 1898--so lush and different from the usual illustrations of that time period.

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    1. Hello Marcia, it’s beautiful isn't it? I would love to start collecting early pop up books but think I may have to wait for my lottery win.

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  18. Hi Barbara, these are such pretty pop-up books, especially Sleeping Beauty and The Rabbit Problem. I find the name 'Emily Gravett' very familiar. I must have one of her books on my to-read list, and now here's another to add!

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    1. Hello Claudine, Emily Gravett has written and illustrated lots of lovely books, so I’m sure you’ve come across her before. She is one of my favourite authors at the moment. I’ve got several of her books ready to share with my little granddaughters when they come for their next visit.

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  19. Pop books really help with perspective! I used to love them and the Rabbit Problem sounds like a hoot!

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    1. Hi Eve, you are not wrong; the Rabbit Problem makes me laugh every time I look at it!

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  20. Dear Barbara,

    I used to enjoy the pop up books I had as a child and still have a few of them.
    Love the rabbit problem - looks fun.
    You must be getting excited and looking forward to catching up with your family.
    Hope you are enjoying the weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Hello Carolyn,
      I can’t wait but on the other hand, I also want to enjoy the summer, so I can’t wish it away too quickly. It feels strange making plans for Christmas already but there are lots of things we want to do while the family are here so we are already making plans!
      I am enjoying the weekend thank you, hope you are too.
      Barbara xx

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  21. Oh how I love that little book, "The Rabbit Problem!" We saw our first spring bunny in our yard yesterday and we were delighted. No problems here with rabbits for we welcome them and what they represent: WARMER WEATHER!

    Dearest Barbara, THANK YOU for coming to visit me; you are just a dear, and yes,I am having fun plotting and planning my book. Why not! One must "create what you wish existed!"

    Anita

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    1. Hello Anita, I saw some rabbits yesterday too! They were in a field close to where a walk – it was lovely to see them hopping around enjoying the sunshine. So glad spring is on the way for you, it must have felt like a very long winter.

      I can’t wait to see your book. You mentioned the end of the year, so I’ve decided it will be a Christmas present from me to me!

      Lots of love, Barbara.

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  22. Thanks for the lovely reminder of the hours I used to spend as a child in front of a pop-up book, imagining what it would be like to be tiny enough to join the fairies and animals in the woodland!

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    1. Hello Deborah, such a lovely memory, thank you for sharing it with us. Barbara.

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  23. These are wonderful Barbara! Love the Rabbit book! Thanks for sharing some history about them. One of my Etsy friends had a French pop-up book in her shop and it was listed for several hundred dollars. They are quite collectible!

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    1. Hi Diane, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I’m envious of your friend the early pop up books are beautiful and very cleverly put together. Thanks for your visit.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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