Pop-up book

Pop-up book

The term pop-up book is often applied to any three-dimensional or movable book, although properly the umbrella term movable book covers pop-ups, transformations, tunnel books, volvelles, flaps, pull-tabs, pop-outs, pull-downs, and more, each of which performs in a different manner. Also included, because they employ the same techniques, are three-dimensional greeting cards.


Pop-up types

Design and creation of such books is known as paper engineering, a term not to be confused with the term for the science of paper making. It is akin to origami in so far as the two arts both employ folded paper. However, origami in its simplest form doesn't use scissors or glue and tends to be made with very bendy paper, pop-ups rely on glue, scissors and stiff card. What they have in common is folding.


Transformations show a scene made up of vertical slats. By pulling a tab on the side, the slats slide under and over one another to "transform" into a totally different scene. Ernest Nister, one of the early English children's book authors, often produced books solely of transformations. Many of these have been reproduced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[citation needed]


Volvelles are paper constructions with rotating parts. An early example is the Astronomicum Caesareum, by Petrus Apianus, which was made for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles in 1540. The book is full of nested circular pieces revolving on grommets.

Tunnel books

Tunnel books (also called peepshow books) consist of a set of pages bound with two folded concertina strips on each side and viewed through a hole in the cover. Openings in each page allow the viewer to see through the entire book to the back, and images on each page work together to create a dimensional scene inside. This type of book dates from the mid-18th century and was inspired by theatrical stage sets. Traditionally, these books were often created to commemorate special events or sold as souvenirs of tourist attractions. (The term "tunnel book" derives from the fact that many of these books were made to commemorate the building of the tunnel under the Thames River in London in the mid-19th century.) In the United States, tunnel books were made for such attractions as World's Fairs and the New York Botanical Gardens.

Recently the tunnel book format has been resurrected by book artist Carol Barton and others as a sculptural book form. Artists are interested not only in the book's interior views, but also in treating the side accordions and covers as informational and visual surfaces.


The audience for early movable books were adults, not children. It is believed that the first use of movable mechanics appeared in a manuscript for an astrological book in 1306. The Catalan mystic and poet Ramon Llull, of Majorca, used a revolving disc or volvelle to illustrate his theories.[1] Throughout the centuries volvelles have been used for such diverse purposes as teaching anatomy, making astronomical predictions, creating secret code, and telling fortunes. By 1564 another movable astrological book titled Cosmographia Petri Apiani had been published. In the following years, the medical profession made use of this format, illustrating anatomical books with layers and flaps showing the human body. The English landscape designer Capability Brown made use of flaps to illustrate "before and after" views of his designs.

While it can be documented that books with movable parts had been used for centuries, they were almost always used in scholarly works. It was not until the 18th century that these techniques were applied to books designed for entertainment, particularly for children.

The first real pop-up books were produced by Ernest Nister and Lothar Meggendorfer. These books were popular in Germany and Britain during the 19th century.

The great leap forward in the field of pop-up books came in 1929 with the publication of the Daily Express Children's Annual Number 1 "with pictures that spring up in model form". This was produced by Louis Giraud and Theodore Brown. Four more Daily Express Annuals followed and then Giraud setup his own publishing house, Strand Publications, this produced the groundbreaking series of Bookano books. There were seventeen Bookanos before the series came to an end with the death of Giraud in 1949. In the United States, in the 1930s, Harold Lentz followed Giraud's lead with the production of the Blue Ribbon books in New York. He was the first publisher to use the term "pop-up" to describe their movable illustrations.[2][3]

The next advance in the field was made by the astoundingly prolific Vojtěch Kubašta working in Prague in the 1960s. His lead was followed by Waldo Hunt in the USA with his founding of Graphics International.[2][4] He and two companies he established, Graphics International and Intervisual Books, produced hundreds of pop-up books for children between the 1960s and 1990s. Although intended for U.S. audiences, these books were assembled in areas with lower labor costs: initially in Japan and later in Singapore and Latin American countries such as Colombia and Mexico. Hunt's first pop-up book was Bennett Cerf's Pop-Up Riddle Book, published by Random House as a promotion for Maxwell House Coffee and showcasing the work of humorist Bennett Cerf, who was then president of Random House.[2][4] The team of Waldo Hunt and Christopher Cerf created a total of 30 more children's pop-up books for publication by Random House, including books that featured Sesame Street characters. According to Bennett Cerf (in his book At Random), pop-up books were profitable for Random House.[2] In addition to his collaborations with Christopher Cerf at Random House, Hunt produced pop-up books for Walt Disney, a series of pop-up books based on Babar, and titles such as Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski and The Human Body by David Pelham.[2][4]

Notable works

Some pop-up books receive attention as literary works for the degree of artistry or sophistication which they entail. One example is STAR WARS: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, by Matthew Reinhart. This book received literary attention for its elaborate pop-ups, and the skill of its imagery, with the New York Times saying that "calling this sophisticated piece of engineering a 'pop-up book' is like calling the Great Wall of China a partition"[5] The 1967 Random House publication Andy Warhol's Index, was produced by Warhol, Chris Cerf and Alan Rinzler, and included photos of celebrities together with pop-up versions of Warholesque images such as a cardboard can of tomato paste,[2] as well as a plastic tear-out recording, an inflatable silver balloon, and other novelties.

See also


  1. ^ Allie Townsend, Pop-Up Book, in "All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys," Time magazine, February 16, 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f Steven Miller, Waldo Hunt, 1920-2009; The 'King of the Pop-Ups' Made Books Spring to Life, The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2009
  3. ^ Ann Montanaro, [1] A Concise History of Pop-up and Movable Books
  4. ^ a b c Valerie J. Nelson, Waldo Hunt dies at 88; entrepreneur revived the pop-up book as art form, Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2009
  5. ^ "A Galaxy in Your Face", The New York Times Book Review, Children's Books section, 11 November 2007.

Further reading

"Pop-Up! A Manual of Paper Mechanisms" by Duncan Birmingham, 1997

  • The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 1 by Carol Barton, 2005
  • The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 2 by Carol Barton, 2008
  • The Elements of Pop-Up by David A. Carter and James Diaz, 1999.
  • Paper Engineering: 3D Design Techniques for a 2D Material by Natalie Avella. Rotovision, 2003.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pop-up book — /ˈpɒp ʌp bʊk/ (say pop up book) noun a book, usually for children, parts of the pages of which rise up to make shapes of relevance to the story as the pages are opened …   Australian English dictionary

  • pop-up book — noun a book (usually for children) that contains one or more pages such that a three dimensional structure rises up when a page is opened • Syn: ↑pop up • Hypernyms: ↑book …   Useful english dictionary

  • pop-up — /pop up /, adj. 1. (of books, usually children s books) having pieces of artwork fastened to the pages so that when the page is opened, a three dimensional cutout or object is formed and, sometimes, movement of a picture element, such as a door… …   Universalium

  • Pop-up-Buch — 〈[ ʌ̣p ] n. 12u〉 Buch mit ausgestanzten Bildelementen aus Pappe, die sich beim Aufklappen zu dreidimensionalen Szenerien, Gebäuden, Figuren o. Ä. entfalten [zu engl. pop up „(plötzlich) auftauchen“] * * * Pop up Buch, das: Bilderbuch, dessen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • pop-up — pop up1 adj 1.) pop up book/card etc a book,card etc with a picture that stands up when you open the pages 2.) pop up menu/window a ↑menu or ↑window that can appear suddenly on a computer screen while you are using it pop up 2 pop up2 n a ↑ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pop-up — pop′ up adj. 1) pri (of a book, greeting card, etc.) having artwork fastened to a page in such a way that when the page is opened, a three dimensional cutout or object unfolds or springs up 2) cvb of, pertaining to, or equipped with a device that …   From formal English to slang

  • pop-up — pop ,up adjective 1. ) a pop up book or card has pictures inside that have been cut out so that they stand up when you open the pages 2. ) a pop up TOASTER pushes the pieces of bread up when they are ready to eat 3. ) COMPUTING used for… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Pop-up-Buch — [... ʌp...] das; [e]s, ... Bücher <aus gleichbed. engl. pop up book zu to pop up »sich aufstellen«> (Kinder)buch, in dem sich beim Aufschlagen Bildteile aufstellen; Stehaufbuch …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • pop-up — noun 1. a book (usually for children) that contains one or more pages such that a three dimensional structure rises up when a page is opened • Syn: ↑pop up book • Hypernyms: ↑book 2. a short high fly ball • Syn: ↑pop fly, ↑pop fly …   Useful english dictionary

  • pop-up — 1) ADJ: ADJ n A pop up book, usually a children s book, has pictures that stand up when you open the pages. 2) ADJ: ADJ n A pop up toaster has a mechanism that pushes slices of bread up when they are toasted …   English dictionary